David Webber: Why Bipartisanship is Rare

The partisan aftermath of the health care summit between President Obama and leaders of Congress maintains citizens’ dislike for politics and renews cries for more bipartisanship. While politics has apparently always sounded mean there is evidence that partisanship in Congress has increased. Congressional Quarterly calculates that in 2009 both House and Senate Democrats voted with their party 91 percent of the time on votes where the two parties were at odds. This is at, or near, record levels of unity for both chambers. House and Senate Republicans were nearly as unified. Times have changed since 1968, when only 51 percent of Senate Democrats backed their party on so-called party unity votes, or in 1970, when only 56 percent of Senate Republicans voted with their party position.

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