Barbara Sinclair is Marvin Hoffenberg Professor of American Politics at the University of California at Los Angeles. She served as chair of the Legislative Studies Section of the American Political Science Association from 1993 to 1995. She is the author of several books, including Legislators, Leaders, and Lawmaking: The U.S. House of Representatives in the Postreform Era, Transformation of the U.S. Senate, which won the Richard F. Fenno Prize and the D. B. Hardeman Prize, and Party Wars: Polarization and the Politics of National Policy Making.
Barbara Sinclair traces the current ideological divide to changes in the Republican party in the 1970s and 1980s, including the rise of neoconservativism and the Religious Right. Because of these historical developments, Democratic and Republican voters today differ substantially in what they consider good public policy, and so do the politicians they elect.
Polarization has produced institutional consequences in the House of Representatives and in the Senate—witness the majority party’s threat in 2004–2005 to use the “nuclear option” of abolishing the filibuster. The president’s strategies for dealing with Congress have also been affected, raising the price of compromise with the opposing party and allowing a Republican president to govern largely from the ideological right. Other players in the national policy community—interest groups, think tanks, and the media—have also joined one or the other partisan “team.”
Party Wars puts all the parts together to provide the first government-wide survey of the impact of polarization on national politics. Sinclair pinpoints weaknesses in the highly polarized system and offers several remedies.
Congress and Its Members, Sixteenth Edition, by Roger H. Davidson, Walter J. Oleszek, Frances E. Lee, and Eric Schickler, offers readers current, comprehensive coverage of Congress and the legislative process by examining the tension between Congress as a lawmaking institution and as a collection of politicians constantly seeking re-election.
The Sixteenth Edition of this best-selling text considers the 2016 elections and discusses the agenda of the new Congress, White House–Capitol Hill relations, party and committee leadership changes, judicial appointments, and partisan polarization, as well as covering changes to budgeting, campaign finance, lobbying, public attitudes about Congress, reapportionment, rules, and procedures. Always balancing great scholarship with currency, the best-seller features lively case material along with relevant data, charts, exhibits, maps, and photos.
Barbara Sinclair's study is a major contribution to our understanding of realignment politics in the House of Representatives. It also provides important insight into the changes in American political life in the late twentieth century.
Congressional Realignment poses three basic, related questions: What are the sources of agenda change? What determines congressional voting alignments and alignment change? Under what conditions are the barriers to major policy change overcome? Sinclair's answers are impressive both in their scholarship and in the depth and intelligence of her insights.