Term Limits, Polarization, and Party Leaders

I recently published an article about the effects of US state legislative term limits on legislators’ behavior. The findings of the article suggest that in the presence of term limits, state legislators in more professionalized legislatures spend less time on constituency service and more time fundraising with their caucus. In the article, I argued that since term limited legislators do not rely on their constituents to maintain a long term career in politics, they are less likely to spend time on constituency service than their peers in non-term limited legislatures. Instead, term limited legislators spend more time on fundraising since it helps them get Continue reading Term Limits, Polarization, and Party Leaders

Recent Lessons from Games for Political Science

The board and video game world this past week have at least two compelling reports that offer some lessons for political science. First, David Hill did both a write up for Grantland and a segment on This American Life about the Diplomacy (the game) world championships. Players in this game have to focus on territorial control and creating/maintaining alliances. This strategic game from the 1950s lacks a true randomization component (dice, coin flips, etc.). However, the game is not Chess either.  Instead, the components that makes the interaction dynamic from game to game are the relationships between the players (up to seven) and the Continue reading Recent Lessons from Games for Political Science

Gay Marriage, Abortion and the Moral Foundations of Political Issues

Americans are becoming progressively more accepting of gays and lesbians.  According to polling from Pew Research, a majority of Americans now support legalizing same sex marriages.  This is a dramatic reversal from the public’s attitudes towards gay marriage just 15 years earlier, where a solid majority (57 percent) of Americans opposed same sex unions.  On the surface, this shift in public attitudes regarding whether homosexuals have a legitimate place in society seems to provide evidence that Americans are becoming increasingly socially liberal.  This view is bolstered when you look at Americans’ attitudes towards the legalization of marijuana, which like same Continue reading Gay Marriage, Abortion and the Moral Foundations of Political Issues

Cantor’s Trojan Horse?

I have a question for someone who is an expert in election law in Virginia. Eric Cantor announced that he will be stepping down from his Congressional seat on August 18. He asked Governor McAuliffe to hold a special election in November so that the candidate who wins his seat will automatically be able to fill the seat. Cantor stated that he wants the special election so his constituents have a representative they want in Congress. My question: Due to Virginia’s sore loser law, Cantor cannot officially run for re-election because he lost his party’s primary election. More specifically, his Continue reading Cantor’s Trojan Horse?