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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Friday, September 4, 2009


In the health care endgame, President Obama will have to contend with factional politics on Capitol Hill. As David Broder observed a few weeks ago:

These organizations -- essentially caucuses within each party -- are relatively uncharted territory for students of Congress. But two articles in the current issue of Congress and the Presidency, the journal published by the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University, examine the history and impact of these factions.

There is nothing new about factions playing a central role in the legislative bargaining process. One of the articles, by Daniel DiSalvo of City College of New York, finds that factions, which he defines as "cohorts that are smaller and more agile than the party as a whole," have been prominent in Congress at least since the first years of the 20th century.

Often linked to interest groups, intellectual centers and activists outside Congress, they are "agenda-setting vehicles and engines of political change that develop new ideas, refine them into workable policies and promote them on Capitol Hill," DiSalvo says.