The political parties in Congress are as polarized as they have been in 100 years. This book examines more than 30 years of congressional history to understand how it is that the Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill have become so divided. It finds that two steps were critical for this development. First, the respective parties' constituencies became more politically and ideologically aligned. Second, members ceded more power to their party leaders, who implemented procedures more frequently and with greater consequence. In fact, almost the entire rise in party polarization can be accounted for in the increasing frequency of and polarization on procedures used during the legislative process.
Professor Theriault received his Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University in 2001. He is now an Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, where he has received numerous teaching awards. His first book, The Power of the People: Congressional Competition, Media Attention, and Public Retribution, was published in 2005. His articles have appeared in numerous journals, including the Journal of Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Social Science History, and American Politics Research. Professor Theriault resides with his partner, Anthony Bristol, in Houston and Austin, Texas.