Argument: One-party rule requires unlikely Senate super-majority

Issue Report: Divided government vs. one-party rule


“The Case That Divided Government is Irrelevant”. 2008 Central. 8 Jul. 2008 – “One party has total control only if they have 60 members of the Senate, one reasons liberals are going crazy over that number this year. This is exceptionally unlikely to happen this year. Nate Silver projects that there is only about a 17% chance of that happening given the electorate.

Republicans did also not have 60 members in the Senate. So what happened? All of the partisan elements of Bush’s domestic agenda the past six years were either thwarted (Social Security) or co-opted by Democrats for various reasons (Tax Cuts, Energy Bill, FISA). The less partisan bills (No Child Left Behind, post-Katrina Bills) were in many cases co-authored by Democrats. There are other bills, such as the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act and the Medicare Bill that fit into both categories to a certain extent. None of these depended on who held a majority in Congress; if Democrats had a slim lead on Republicans, much of the same would happen. The FISA Compromise in the Senate right now is indicatibe of that. The immediate effect of a new President in domestic policy is regulatory power; ability to set new standards, to appoint partisans to regulatory commissions, and whatnot. That is usually unhindered by Congress, except in extreme cases. This was similar for the Clinton administration: the partisan health care attempt failed, even with a majority of Democrats.

[…]As I noted above, the facts do not back this up; not at all. This type of strong push one way or another only occurs when one party has a supermajority, implicitly meaning that the people want the country to move in that direction. The reason is simple; the founding fathers created a system in the Senate that would check undivided government itself. Merritt completely glosses over this; he admits it exists, but does not want to trust it.”