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The social networks of the Senate

Andrew Odewahn has put together a fantastic set of slides showing the slow deterioration in Senate bipartisanship between 1991 and 2009.

But keep an eye not just on the deterioration of cross-party cooperation, but the shifting blocs within both parties. As Odewahn shows, "there are clear and distinct moderate blocks within both parties." Saying that Democrats have 60 votes doesn't tell you whether Harry Reid has 60 votes, or whether liberals have 60 votes. The story of the Senate is not just that the two major parties don't agree and don't cooperate with each other, but that they don't always agree and cooperate with themselves.

By Ezra Klein  |  February 3, 2010; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Comments

These graphs shed some light on why Reid keeps Holy Joe around despite the frequent insults to Democratic dignity. It really does turn out that he votes with us on everything except things that might get him on TV.

Posted by: dal20402 | February 3, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Brilliant visualization...

I just enjoy imagining these imperial Senators represented as a 'dot' of a diagram which resembles a virus kind of picture! Dissecting them as like animals or reducing them to a simple pixel in some larger story; all that is cathartic when in reality commoners like us are all powerless for all kinds of 'games' which these Senators play.

Posted by: umesh409 | February 3, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

like umesh and dal, I found this slide show very engaging, and the visual imagery made sime subtle things more apparent.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | February 3, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

In that last slide, it looks like a green dot representing Lieberman is included in the *liberal* side of the Democratic caucus. What? I'm confused about that.

Posted by: madjoy | February 3, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

One mistake: Richard Shelby (AL) was a Democrat until 1995. He switched after the '94 debacle.

Posted by: Isa8686 | February 3, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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