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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Unified Government in the States

At The Washington Post, Dan Balz writes about unified party control of state government:
Today, 37 of the 50 states are under unified party control. Republicans hold the governorship and majorities in both chambers of the legislature in 23 states; Democrats have full control in 14 states. In 12 states, power is divided between Republicans and Democrats. (The other state, Nebraska, has a nonpartisan, unicameral legislature, although the governor is a Republican and the legislature is conservative.)

Justin Phillips, a political scientist at Columbia University who has written extensively about state government, said the degree of unified party control in the states is greater than at any time in more than half a century.

“This allows governors to behave very differently than they do under divided control,” Phillips said. Acknowledging that the parties long have had different philosophies about how to govern, he added: “The difference between what Democrats want and what Republicans want is growing. With unified party control, they don’t have to compromise.”

The National Governors Association once was an arena where governors of both parties came together to find consensus. But Ray Scheppach, who spent three decades as the organization’s executive director, said the governors’ partisan organizations — the Republican Governors Association and the Democratic Governors Association — now dominate, producing a sea change in the way states are being governed.

“They used to be governors first and Democrats or Republicans second,” Scheppach said. “Now they’re Democrats and Republicans first and governors second. In my mind, that’s a huge change.”
Graph of Party Control by State: