Partisan conflict between the White House and Congress is now a dominant feature of national politics in the United States. What the Constitution sought to institute—a system of checks and balances—divided government has taken to extremes: institutional divisions so deep that national challenges like balancing the federal budget or effectively regulating the nation's savings and loans have become insurmountable. In original essays written especially for this volume, eight of the leading scholars in American government address the causes and consequences of divided party control. Their essays, written with a student audience in mind, take up such timely questions as: Why do voters consistently elect Republican presidents and Democratic congresses? How does divided control shape national policy on crucial issues such as the declaration of war? How have presidents adapted their leadership strategies to the circumstance of divided government? And, how has Congress responded in the way it writes laws and oversees departmental performance? These issues and a host of others are addressed in this compact yet comprehensive volume. The distinguished lineup of contributors promises to make this book "must" reading for both novice and serious students of elections, Congress, and the presidency.
Introduction: Governing a Divided Era -- Federal Causes -- Divided Government: Is It All in the Campaigns? -- The Republican Presidential Advantage in the Age of Party Disunity -- The Persistence of Democratic House Majorities -- Federal Consequences -- Facing an Opposition Congress: The President's Strategic Circumstance -- Government on Lay-Away: Federal Spending and Deficits Under Divided Party Control -- Divided Control of Fiscal Policy -- Comparative Perspectives -- Divided Government in the States -- Lessons from the Post-Civil War Era -- Conclusion