The House is certainly the most extreme illustration of what’s to come. Moderate Republicans are basically extinct. Conservative Democrats, who not long ago accounted for more than a quarter of the party in the House, are getting wiped away, too — and will likely number a little more than a dozen after November.
The Senate, once the chamber of deliberation and reason, is getting its own extreme makeover. Moderates such as Maine Republican Olympia Snowe and Democrat Ben Nelson are bolting an institution that barely resembles the one they entered as idealistic deal makers.
As it stands, Congress is more polarized than at any time since Reconstruction, according to data compiled by Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal, political scientists who study congressional voting.
And in another shocker, this polarization has real consequences, Politico claims:
This has profound implications for governance. With rapid swings in control, it’s no longer safe to assume a new law will be the law of the land 24 months later. Think of the health care law or EPA regulations or Dodd-Frank. Democrats love all three. Republicans hate them.
This isn’t political posing. The Republicans and Democrats the modern system produces literally come from different worlds and see no middle ground on the biggest issues of the day. They see elections — not the legislative process — as the place to settle their differences.
But they miss the arbitrage opportunity! Definitely a buy signal for the reform-industrial complex.