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I shall post videos, graphs, news stories, and other material there. We shall use some of this material in class, and you may review the rest at your convenience. You will all receive invitations to post to the blog. (Please let me know if you do not get such an invitation.) I encourage you to use the blog in these ways:
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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Two Congresses, Two Branches, Two Chambers, Two Parties, Four Postures

More on the Two Congresses


 


Matt Vasilogambros writes at National Journal:
On a re­cent Fri­day af­ter­noon, as she was leav­ing the Hill for the week­end, a con­gres­sion­al aide sud­denly re­membered that her park­ing pass would ex­pire be­fore she came to work the next Monday. She had pro­cras­tin­ated about ask­ing her boss to sign for a new one, and now he’d flown home for the week­end. So, after only a mo­ment’s hes­it­a­tion, she signed his name to the form her­self. Or tried to.
”It ended up look­ing like ab­so­lute crap,” she says. “I used the wrong-colored pen. I used a red pen; we’re sup­posed to use a blue pen. So I had to do the whole thing over.”
You might think this would raise sus­pi­cions -- not only for­ging a mem­ber’s sig­na­ture on a fed­er­al doc­u­ment but also botch­ing the job so badly that you have to try again. But nobody on Cap­it­ol Hill bats an eye at staffers sign­ing for their bosses; it’s part of the daily routine, and, ac­cord­ing to the House and Sen­ate Eth­ics com­mit­tees, there are no rules pro­hib­it­ing it. Which comes in handy, for staffers and mem­bers alike, be­cause the elec­ted of­fi­cials’ sig­na­tures are re­quired on everything from “Dear Col­league” let­ters to tech-equip­ment re­quests. (The idea is that mem­bers are held ac­count­able for every ac­tion taken by their aides.) And with law­makers dash­ing from caucus meet­ings to com­mit­tee hear­ings to floor votes to fun­drais­ing call rooms, they’d be hard-pressed to af­fix their John Han­cocks to every doc­u­ment that hits their desks -- or their staffers’ desks.

Two Branches
Two Chambers

A second look at Federalist 51:
But it is not possible to give to each department an equal power of self-defense. In republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates. The remedy for this inconveniency is to divide the legislature into different branches; and to render them, by different modes of election and different principles of action, as little connected with each other as the nature of their common functions and their common dependence on the society will admit. It may even be necessary to guard against dangerous encroachments by still further precautions.



Size

The average size of a congressional  district based on the 2010 Census  apportionment population will be  710,767, more than triple the average  district size of 210,328 based on the  1910 Census apportionment, and 63,815  more than the average size based on  Census 2000 (646,952). Based on the  2010 Census apportionment, the state  with the largest average district size will  be Montana (994,416), and the state with  the smallest average district size will be  Rhode Island (527,624).






Two Parties, Four Postures

Four Strategic Postures Since 2000 (House, by election year)

                                                Majority                      Minority

            Pres Party                    Dems 08                      GOP 06
                                                GOP 00, 02, 04           Dem 10,12,14
           
            Out Party                    GOP 10,12,14             GOP 08
                                                Dem 06                       Dem 00, 02,04


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