PSCI 326 RQ #8

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RQ 8 PSCI 326 Name: Charles Ruble 1. In Chapter 1, what causes of polarization does the author identify and what causes does the author eliminate as explanations? Polarization in Congress derives from both sincere ideological differences about policy means and ends and strategic behavior to exploit those differences to win elections. The combination of high ideological stakes and intense competition for party control of the national government has all but eliminated the incentives for significant bipartisan cooperation on important national problems. Consequently, polarization has reduced congressional capacity to govern. Congress has been less productive in legislation, more prone to delays in appropriating funds, and increasingly slow in handling executive and judicial appointments. While hard to quantify, there is considerable evidence for a decline in the quality of legislative deliberation and legislation. Of significant concern is the extent to which this reduction in legislative capacity has contributed to a shift in the constitutional balance, as it enhanced opportunities for executive and judicial encroachments on legislative prerogatives. 2. In Chapter 3, what is the relationship between polarization at the federal and state level? Polarization at the federal level derives from both sincere ideological differences about policy means and ends and strategic behavior to exploit those differences to win elections. Polarization at the state level derives from the average ideological distance between the median Democrat and Republican in the state legislature. In fact, about half of the states are even more polarized than Congress. 3. In chapter 3, how to the authors measure polarization? The authors survey researched a subgroup that focused on how rising levels of polarization and gridlock have impeded negotiation, compromise, and good governance. By design, the polarization subgroup reflected a variety of viewpoints with respect to the nature and effects of polarized politics in the United States.
4. In Chapter 5, the authors discuss political moderates. What are "moderates" according to the authors. What are the 2 ways they are characterized? Moderates possess lower levels of political information and are less likely to be politically engaged than those who are closer to one of the ideological poles. The term "moderate" is a favorable term in politics, one that connotes pragmatism and reasonableness, as opposed to epithets like ideologue, radical, or extremist. There are two types of moderates, the politically uninformed/ unengaged and the "moderates-in-name-only."
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