Implications of Partisanship in the Congress

Implications of Partisanship in the Congress


The role of the Congress in legislation has been affected by some elements particularly the issue of partisanship. The contemporary Congress is now polarized as inspired by such aspects as party loyalty, and policies established by individual parties. As such, there is a heated debate on the possible implications of partisanship on the overall effectiveness of the Congress. In fact, the members have noble responsibilities of passing vital bills into right on behalf of all Americans. Their tendency to engage in a tug of war before a bill is passed into law has been found to affect the timing of the consent of the president. Partisanship has led to the polarization in the Congress as attributed to unique causes, and this had a direct impact on the legislation process calling for improvised models to enhance cooperation among members.

Possible Causes of Polarization in the Congress

Partisanship has seen polarization in the Congress turn multiplicative in the recent past as attributed to demographic uniformity in congressional districts (Victor, 2012). In our contemporary societies, individuals tend to flock with those who share similar values and perspectives. It turns to birds of the same weather affair. This has been the case in the Senate and the House of the Representatives. This has fueled division among members based on party affiliation. A second element that has seen a rise in polarization in the Congress is the protocol and rules observed during the nomination of congressional candidates. Actually, the same rules are followed in drawing congressional districts. Apparently, boundaries established through this regulation are disconnected from the traditional political boundaries that were common in the past. As such, local organizations have little control in the recruitment who would otherwise represent them in the Congress. The overall outcome is a congress with low-quality challengers who do not embrace the culture of teamwork in achieving a valuable agenda for the country (Victor, 2012).

Lost Credibility among the Public

The consequent outcome of polarization in the Congress is scorn from the public. The number of members of the society approving the job done by the Congress is low (Victor, 2012). The division in the Congress as inspired by partisanship has seen many people lose faith in congressional representatives as they lack a sense of cooperation and teamwork. In this light, they seemingly appear to propagate the policies of their individual parties rather than attend matters affecting the society. With bills that affect Americans directly, a Congress that is less motivated to deliberate decisions timely is never popular among the public. Ironically, some congressional representatives still find their way back in the Congress through re-election. It has been a question of whether some members of the Congress have become overly dominant in politics due to merit or just because they have an upper hand and big influence in higher ranks. Nevertheless, one should not get it twisted. The public is more concerned about the attitude of members of the Congress when making critical decisions in both houses. Research has it that voters are challenging congressional legislatures for being partisan rather than conceptual when making decisions on behalf of the constituencies they represent (Carson, Koger, & Lebo, 2010). Those are more inclined to the policies of their parties are faring unfavorably among the electorate. The public is not willing to get them back in the Congress during general elections. As such, loyalty towards one’s party has turned into a liability. The society is only willing to work with individuals that are willing to put party interest aside, and deliberate decisions that affect Americans as a team.


Reduced Productivity and Innovation in the Congress

Partisanship has further fueled incorporation an element that has generated fiscal and policy battles in the Congress (Andris, Lee, Hamilton, Martino, Gunning, & Selden, 2015). This has negatively affected the productivity of the Congress. The number of bills shared on the floor has significantly dropped an aspect that has stalled progress in the society. The Congress is less motivated to steer progress but rather interested in ideological elements that are more inclined on partisan agendas. While some still find their way back to the Congress through re-election, the assumption made by the voters is that some of them would be haste to pass a critical bill to win popularity with voters (Andris, Lee, Hamilton, Martino, Gunning, & Selden, 2015). However, this has not been the case in many cases. Many congressional representatives have been keen to extend loyalty to their parties at the expense of their constituents’ interests. A sense of disillusionment is now evident among the voters.

Negative Implications for the Economy

Polarization in the Congress further costs the economy billions of dollars. In a recent study, the data collected has revealed that Congress’ budget battle since 2010 has cost the government $ 700 billion (Plumer, 2013). The matters that were being addressed in this case revolved around the national budget an element that should have been deliberated in the shortest time possible. Another element that called for a quick and timely deliberation by the Congress was debt-ceiling standoffs. The congressional representatives were more concerned about partisan agendas rather than being ideological for the best of the American society. They could not make punctual decisions on spending cuts by the government an element that ballooned this loss. Factors that became evident as outcomes of a slow legislative body were in the form of stagnated economic activities and loss of jobs. The government could not deliberate key decisions that set the economy running. Many industries were affected leading to unemployment and slow economic growth. The aspect of policy uncertainty in the Congress is not helping the situation. The households are basing their decisions on issues deliberated by the Congress. With a slow legislative process, many families are not willing to invest, as they are not sure of the situation in the market. Additionally, potential employers are unwilling to hire an element that is slowing economic growth (Plumer, 2013).

Unwelcome Government Shutdowns

The tussle in the Congress as attributed to heightened polarization has been a cause of frequent government shutdowns in the past. In a Congress characterized by republican and democrats, the demands raised by the Republicans to the president regarding the health care law saw the closure of the government become a reality in 2013 (Sanchez, Foster, & Rushton, 2013). The Republican was not willing to work with the Democrats to enact a bill that would finally save millions of Americans who could not afford health services. They would sabotage all federal activities until the health law would be delayed for a year or so. Due to their commonness in party policies, the Republicans engaged in a tug of war that would see more than half a million federal workers being placed on unpaid leave (Sanchez, Foster, & Rushton, 2013). The much the politicians would do is blame each other for hundreds of thousands spent days without wages.

Impacts on the U.S Foreign Policy

Disputes in the House of Representatives between the Democrats and the Republicans have had many policies at stake. The recent Iran Nuclear deal has had Republicans put demands on the table seeking more information about the pact (Zengerle, Cowan, & Lawder, 2015). They were not willing to deliberate the issue until the U.S President would provide details that Democrats claimed were obvious for everybody to see. The issue revealed a Congress that is divided based on partisan agenda. The uniformity in the sentiments of the Republicans shows an element that affects the U.S foreign policy. The polarized Congress has the penitential to paralyze government’s agenda.

Possible Recommendations

Scholars and researchers suggest an institutional approach to partisanship and polarization in the Congress (Victor, 2012). Such institutions would serve to help legislators embrace values that cut across partisan divides. Additionally, the congressional elections should be made more competitive to ensure that candidate recruitment earns the society the most suitable legislators. Some people assert that women can suit such positions as they can outdo male counterparts in such areas as specialization and workload (Victor, 2012). They are less likely to be drawn to partisan agendas, as they perceive themselves as not eligible for office. They would not focus on obliging to partisan demands but rather serve the society.


Partisanship has led to heightened polarization in the Congress. This is attributed to demographic uniformity in congressional districts, and ill-advised rules in candidates’ recruitment and formation of congressional districts. Polarization has seen the public lose credibility in the Congress. Actually, partisanship has led to a less productive and a non-innovative congress. It has affected the economy negatively and has led to government shutdowns in many actions. Moreover, the tussle in the Congress has slowed decisions regarding foreign policies. With informed institutional approaches and better recruitment procedures for candidates, the issue of polarization in the Congress can be minimized.


Andris, C., Lee, D., Hamilton, M. J., Martino, M., Gunning, C. E., & Selden, J. A. (2015). The rise of partisanship and super-cooperators in the U.S House of representatives. PLoS ONE, 10(4):1-14.

Carson, J., Koger, G., & Lebo, M. J. (2010). The electoral costs of party loyalty in the congress. American Journal of Political Science, 54(3): 598-616.

Plumer, B. (2013). Study: Congress’s budget battles have cost the economy $700 billion so far. Retrieved from The Washington post:

Sanchez, R., Foster, P., & Rushton, K. (2013). US government shuts down as Congress misses deadline. Retrieved from Telegraph:

Victor, J. (2012, Oct 17th). Partisan polarization in the congress: Causes, consequences, solutions? Retrieved from

Zengerle, P., Cowan, R., & Lawder, D. (2015). Republican dispute may prevent Congress vote on Iran deal. Retrieved from Reuters:

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