tv Political Partisanship in the U.S. CSPAN March 13, 2016 8:50am-10:01am EDT
nt as post war history. this plus, state governments who -- make this transition for many injured and physically and emotionally injured confederate veterans a very difficult one. thank you all so much for your attention today and for participating. >> you're watching american history tv. all weekend every weekend on c-span 3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span history. >> it's argued it our current political parties are the most devicive in history. professors joe ann freeman who studies american politics and brian balough who specializes in the 20th century disagree. up next, they discuss the evolution of political parties and partnership from the founding eras to the 21st
century. this hour long event was hosted by the national history center. >> in a few weeks the united states senator are rise in the southern chamber to read through the entire text of george washington's farewell address. this is a tradition the senate has been performing annually. other than the senator who's speaking the only other people who will be in the chamber will be the senator who is the presiding officer, handful of clerks and a few visiting tourists in the gallery. but, the rest of the public can watch this on c-span. if you do watch it, you will hear our first president, in the most solemn manner against the effects of the spirit of party generally. he goes ton to say, this spirit unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature. it exist in different shapes in all governments.
in those of the popular form, it's seen greatest rankness and truly their worst enemy. i think it's a little comforting when we consider 21st century partnership to know that partisanship. since we hear questions about whether or not this time period is the single most polarized partisan era the national history says this day invited two prominent prominent historians to discuss partisanship and help us measure our current time. joann freeman is the professor of history at yale university where she specializes in politics and political culture.
she is at work with a book with a title "the field of blood congressional violence in antebellum america." the late 19th and 20th is brian balough. he's the author of a number of works. including a government out of sight. the mystery of national authority in 19th century america and another one between the cycle essays on the evolution of 20th century american governance. he currently worked on biography and tangled roots of the administration in the united states. you may have heard brian on a nationally syndicated public
radio show. here today we have two american history guys. >> i will be the honorary guy. thank you for the introduction. this morning i like to discuss a period of extreme partisanship and polarization in congress. a period us against them, a period of do or die politics, a period filled with talk of doom and destruction and physical violence. a period in which new technology broadcast some of those extreme claims to a national audience with ever increasing speed. the polarization, the emotions, the extremes in many ways i just described that current political life. in fact, i'm talking about the late 1850's. a period when the struggle for the soul of the union, a struggle grounded on the problem
slavery, ultimately ripped the nation in two. i like to briefly discuss that political crisis of the 1850's who a briefer glance with an earlier deeply polarized crisis. i'll add i'm talking about the 1850's, i'll be drawing on a book that i just completed. the working title has migrated over. it's the field of blood and the coming of the civil war. it is a book that reveals a striking thread of physical violence in the u.s. congress on the floor of the house and senate between roughly 1830 and 1860. involving not only the charles sumner but including roughly 100 physical clashes in the house of senate including fist fights
and the occasional brawl with dozens of congressmen rumbling in essence. usually in the house. i'm going to come back to that rather dramatic assertion in a moment. i will leave you hanging and give you a little bit of context. i'll start by saying, obviously part of what i'm implying here is today we're hardly experiencing the first most polarized moment. over the last two years, a number clearly wanted me to state for the record, things have never been worse. i can't say that. as a historians, i cannot say that. in many ways, 1850's were worse. intense partisanship dates band to the republic. first crisis of intense partisanship took place during the government's first decade in existence. the 1790's was a period of
extreme partisanship culminating in the presidential election in 1800 a do or die. the crises had much in common with the present. there was rampant fear. of a foreign threat. federalist feared that the upset of revolution france would corrupt or destroy the american public. given that the republicans were who french friendly seem to be risking the life of the republic of the federalist, dedicated themselves to destroying the republicans as a matter of national survival and partisan advantage. republicans in turn believed that the federalist were destroying the republic by trying to convert and corrupt it into an aristocratic monarchy. their attempt to use the power
of the statement to crush the republican opposition. republicans also dedicated themselves to destroying their foe, the federalist with equal furver. in the -- quite the opposite, organized national political parties were seen as dangerous self-interested, factional and hopefully a temporary problem that would fade away. federalist republicans sometimes refer to each other as parties. they were hardly parties in the sense that we understand a party today. in fact, sometimes people refer to the federalist as mr. hamilton and his particular friend and the republicans as
mr. jefferson and his particular friends. there were two distinct world views, federalist and republicans. but not really party disciplines. there was no national party construction in the sense that we understand it today. the republicans-in and federalist were were alliances more than parties. in the absence of structured political fighting teams. conflict in this national election to come in 1800, ran wild. the lack of faith in the nation's new political system to contain the partisan made matters worse. fractured or weak parties and lack of faith in the political system. these two things have an enormous shaping influence on the tone of partisanship. i will come back to that idea. in the 1790's, matters really came to a head in the presidential election of 1800. in the lead up to that election fire and brimstones claimed filled the press. i'm going to share with you my
favorite electioneeing trick. it's from the federalist. it can be carried out at a time when the roads were poor and communication across long distance was difficult. in the middle of the campaign at 1800, with jefferson running for president, some federalist claimed in the press that jefferson had died. you can see in newspapers, some panicked. what tragedy! whoever thought of that was very savvy. as far as the election, things got worse when republicans thomas jefferson tied for the presidency and the election was thrown into the house to break the tie. for six days and 36 ballots the house voted again and gone and unable to break the tie. we see the impact lack of faith in the political system because in the midst of the deadlock,
jefferson put them on alert. i think it's pretty remarkable when think think that gets overlook in this election. in the end jefferson won fully convinced that former federalist depart from a leading die hards would join with him after his victory. party crisis is over. there was no telling if national two party strike would rise again particularly in the wake of another presidential election. to prevent it, connecticut federalist james came up what he believed to be brilliant solution. he explained in a letter to john marrjohnjohnmarshall.
with okay no more national political contest. this later crisis, as in 1890 was with do or die. democrat were fighting for the soul of the republic. this later crisis as in 1800, called for extreme rhetoric and hovering of very real large scale organized violence. also as in 1800, during this crisis, political parties were influx. in 1850 the whig party was collapsing and the democratic party was sprinting. some of those northerners were becoming republicans. a new northern anti-slavery party. unlike 1800, in the 1850's, crisis was centered on congress. the representative needing place of north and south. as i suggested outset 1850's is
hardly the first time congressman were violent towards one another. there was kind of a routine hum of violence in congress. largely falling along party line. someone from one party strong arm someone from the other party into doing what he wanted him to do. essentially promoting policy by silencing opposition with threats, violence and challenges. people who played that rough kind of political game were known as, this is the word they used at the time bullies. congressional bullies. most of these bullies were southern or southern born westerners. people who did not enjoy playing that rough political game, were known as, this is the term from the time, noncombatant. they were northerners westerners. in the house in 1842,
massachusetts representative john quincy adams was given anti-slavery speech. when a southern democrat tried to cut adams off someone objected that adam has a right to speak. within minutes a southern democrat wearing a very visible knife, walked over to the person who objected and said, do that again, i'll cut your throat from ear to ear. the part that is actually a direct quote is i'll cut your throat from ear to ear. a debate would get heated. john quincy adams would say what will you do, cut his throat ear to ear. that was a clash. by the late 1850's as crisis over slavery was coming to a head the fight escalated and you really did have massive group brawls in the house north against south. you also had a telegraph
something new, technological innovation spreading those passions from within congress nationwide with ever increasing urgency and speed. here i think it's an interestingly with the present you had a new technology boosting political communication and complicating political debate by spreading political passion from the national stage with great efficiency and echoing back to the national stage the equally impassioned response from the american public. the end result in 1850 was extreme rhetoric extreme feeling and far less ability for national politicians to wiggle their way out of extreme language or conduct. news simply spread too quickly. a new hampshire senator pinpointed this problem in 1950 after one senator pulled a gun on another senator during debate. not surprising there was confusion and people ran out
screaming. there was a wonderful political cartoon women with the umbrellas. after a few minutes, people settled down and senate prepared to go back to work. this one senator wrote to his seat to point something out. the moment crisis had passed, he said within an hour, the nation would be learning through the telegraph that senators were wallowing in gore senate slaughtering each other with pistols. he was right. when you read the comments, when you read about this discussion and you see sort of hint of has going, you can feel the pause of the room. i guess that's true. now, think about the combination of factors i described here. the extreme rhetoric and threat to politician, polarizations do or die mentality, the media spreading the heightened emotion and political excess throughout
the nation. the public responding to the media with political passion of their own. it's combination of stimuli created a cycle of stridency in the 1850's. this cycle did nothing to boost public faith in the government to contain the growing crisis. increasingly the public wanted their congressman to fight for their right and for their vision of what america should be. when i say fight i actually mean quite literally fight. great example of this, massachusetts constituents who came to see their representative off as he was getting oon a train. they gave him a gift to take back to washington with him. a gun inscribed with the words free speech. whenever i come to that, the hair comes on the back of my
neck. i think that's remarkable. by the late 1850's with the arrival anti-slavery republican party in congress, northerners were fighting with cheering home audience looking on. when the republic dedicated themselves, they lemented in congress. i have to add that amist all of this, some people did see humor in the general congressional mayhem of the period. it happens to be from the "new york times" of the period. it's written by a washington correspondent. this is from the late 1850's. judge kellogg, a citizen of michigan arrived in the city on saturday evening. it was his first visit to the capital. his train car stopped, he was uncertain where he was. as he entered the main hall, he
saw a man engaged all over the room. when you say this, said the judge, i knew i was in washington. okay. where does this leave us? i'm going to conclude by pointing out one or two things that strike me about the partisan shipship. i think it's striking in both of the crisis that i was talking about how interconnected congress constituents and the press were in the creation of that crisis. i think sometimes we have a tendency to want to point a finger or blame at the cause of a crisis. certainly in these crisis, you cannot point to any one factor leads leading to the cycle of stridency. the 1850's really do raise interesting questions learnt fractured parties reduce people faith in the political process. in the late 1850's americans
generally trusted their congressman but they did not trust congress as an institution. nor did congressmen trust each other. by 1860 many congressman were routinely armed not because they were eager to kill their opponent but out of fear their opponents might kill them. they too lost faith in the political process. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you joann. i want to thank don for that
lovely introduction. thank congress for holding this briefing. in 1950, the american political science association published a report called "toward a more responsible two party system." it became with premise that something was terribly wrong with the american party system. quote, it's weakness is the serious matter. to affect the heart beat of american democracy. what was wrong with the party system? we got rid of dualing and got rid of caining. senators were not packing. they shared attitudes towards the major issues of the day. soviet unions for instance civil rights. that were really quite similar in many instances.
that was the problem from the atsa's perspective. the parties were too similar to each other. too unwilling to get out at least metaphorically. parties needed to be reformed to present clear ideological distinction, the atsa report said. they needed clear programmatic agendas. listen to what the atsa report had to say in 1950. i was telling joanne who was editing my comments this morning. i kept editing, this quotation. i can't edit this. political science really runs on sentence. but bare with me. the if the requirement to the
accountability is a two party system in which the opposition party acts as credits i can of -- critic of the party in power. presenting the policy alternative which are necessary for a true choice in reaching public decision. the opposition most conducive to responsible government is in organized party opposition. end quote. the political scientists were not worried about gridlock or ideological validity. they needed clarification a party policy would not cause the parties to differ more fundamentally or more sharply than they have in the past. nor is it to be assumed that increasing concern with their programs would cause the party to erect between themselves and ideological wall. so much for forecasting the future. i suppose that we're all at this briefing because partisan rancor and gridlock have become such a problem that we're yearning to tell those political scientists
from 1950, to be careful what you wish for. how do we get here? how do we get here from the atsa being so concerned that the parties had no differences between each other? i saw the contributing factors. one, ideological sorting out of parties. two, the color line, three old time religion, four you mean politics is not local? five it's the machinery stupid. and six, and last, certainly not least, it's the media stupid. okay great sort out. for much the nation's history the democratic party had been geographical centered in the south. with the americans of the new deal coalition in the 19 1930.
ideologically this created uneasy alliance. between northern liberals and southern conservatives. this was not just any party democratic party. it was a party that held overwhelming congressional majority for 50 years with very few interruptions. republicans could only get something done by adding a voice to the compromise handed out within -- compromised hammered out within the democratic party. or by joining one faction or another. civil rights bill or that effort to stop universal healthcare for instance. between 1960 and 1990, it was a great sorting out of two parties along ideological lines. republicans became solidly conservative, democrats became solidly progressive. that sorting correspondent into
a geographic sorting as well. republicans were centered in the sun belt in the stage west. democrats held the northeast coast and the west coast. states like ohio and few others remained up for grab. none of this would have mattered if the electoral ballot between the parties had not become so competitive. but for the first time since the new deal coalition conservatives republican could at least aspire to capturing the white house as ronald reagan finally did in 1980. conservative republicans in congress did garner majority on a regular basis. with more ideologically pure candidates in both parties poised for victory, it was no longer any incentive for the minority party to compromise. i want to underscore that the ideological sorting out in and of itself is not what
contributed to the kind of partisan gridlock that we face today. rather it was the combination of more ideologically consistent parties and the relatively equal appeal of these ideologicals. that has framed the fierce partisanship of the last 30 years. the color line. there are lots of reasons for this great sorting out. there's a civil war within the democratic party over vietnam. there was another interaction within the democratic party in essence between new left pushing the party further left and orlando liberals in the democratic party. there was the ability of the right to fund articulate and legitimate conservative critiques of liberal thought and progress. if he to choose just one from the menu of items that contributed to the great sorting out, i'd pick the color line. lyndon johnson understood his
quest for racial equality would mean for the solid democratic south. upon signing the civil rights act of 1964 johnson reputed to have said quote, i think we just delivered the south to the republican party for a long time to come. end quote. of course seventh righting a and the voting rights act is followed of bringing millions of african-americans living in the south. african-americans who did not have the right to vote into the democratic party. even as it drove white voters out of the democratic party. as johnson anticipated those african-americans exercised their rights vigorously. which pushed the democratic party farther to the left. 83% of african-americans voted for clinton in 1992, 90% african-american voted for gore in 2000 and an incredible to me,
96% of african-american voted for barack obama in 2008. the best predictor of who's going to vote democratic is raised. african-americans have become an enmovable cornerstone of today's democratic party. old time religion. the immoveable foundation of the current republican party is made of white voters who attend church regularly. before 1980 there were almost no difference in party identification between religious and nonreligious whites measured by regular church attendance. today, the most faithful core of the republican party by the white evangelicals, born again christians. it's not just these groups that vote republican. the real dividing line is regular church attendance.
whatever the denomination or faith. regular attendance is highly corollated with political attitudes. 54% of red state voters attend church weekly. this compares to 34% attendance for blue state voters. 54% to 34%. 71% of weekly white church attenders voted for george bush in 2004. 40% of white who seldom or never go to church voted for bush. i should say, that data is all for white voters. what this data about african-americans and regular church-goers show is that each party can rely upon a identifiable constituent that map on to an equally identifial, ideological agenda.
these are not reports report voters who will be satisfied on pork barrel politics. these are voter who respond to powerful ideological cues. that ideology is not easily compromised. it's not just easily parceled out. that ideology tends to be as political science call it, a zero sum game. you mean all politics isn't local? i can't believe i'm going to certify that it might not be here in the cannon building. at the very moment, the democratic speaker of the house tip o'neal was popularized his note to politics by saying, all politics is local. a none republican by the name of newt gingrich prove that the
nationalizations of politics can be effective especially for minority party. nationalizing, an abstract anti-government politics offered a path to majority control in the house. here i'm relying on the work of a terrific young scholar by the name of brent. gingrich set out to short circuit the localist material and pragmatic support that damaged democrats for decades. a republican from minnesota an early congressional ally, gingrich believe that the path to majority necessitated replacing what existed with something new. that thing that was new for gingrich was offering sharp contrast that separated the
democratic majority from the public that had been voting for them. it was one of the deepest irony of partisan war for the last 50 years. the party that come to stand for state rights was also the party that nationalized debate about that issue. what matters for our purposes and partisanship, the localized material benefits that majorities could deliver were increasingly challenged by a more abstract set of ideas about conceptions of governance. especially about what side -- size that government should be. it's the machinery stupid. virtualliesque -- everybody writes about the current state of partisans. i would point out that gerrymandering, has been with us
for very long time. the piece of machinery that did change in the period, is the primary. primaries have proliferated its means of choosing candidates. this means that in activated super minority can upset the cart. the smaller the electoral grows the more powerful or passionate group of voters motivated by a single issue becomes. since voters a the outer edges of the ideological spectrum to bother to show up, legislators have to be cautious about compromising with the enemy as these true believers see it. i observed this process play out firsthand in my own rural virginia district. the district that used to be represented by eric cantor. he proved simply too liberal for
my district. too much of a compromiser, by the way. too much concern about government rather than being primaried which was thought to be impossible. finally, it's the media stupid. we could spend the day on this. very quickly, first off by the media, i include the way parties get information about voters not just the wait they disseminate information to voters. too often we forget about technologies like public opinion polling for instance and big data crunching. than is included under media as well. the first shot at the media revolution was fired by richard with his direct mail technique dating back to the mid 1960's. the standard invites in those days was to aim for the middle.
with public opinion polling in its infancy when it cames to identifying the preference of voters. basic rebroadcast network only way to reach those people, there were very few ways to target minority or outlying perspectives. even if you could identify the people with those perspectives. the firm credited people, there were very few with creating the profession of campaign consulting, whitaker and baxter, noted that a campaign's theme quote, must be simple and have a strong human interest appeal. it must have more corn than caviar. end quote. donations to barry goldwater created direct mail empire aimed at conservatives. the targeting method identified in an appeal to segment the
population that the mainstream media and politicians had largely ignored. this targeting, which was soon super charged or put on steroids by the digital revolution allowed candidates to reach smaller segments of the population. by the 1980's, cable television fueled the rise of the 24 hour news cycle. more importantly for our topic the proliferation of cable news stations and ultimately website and blogs allowed outlets to be successful even if they only reached a very small portion of the electorate. if you want of three broadcast television stations and you're reaching less than 30%, you're out of business. you really have to get that middle. when you have hundreds of outlets, you can be really quite successful 3% or 4%, etcetera.
just as the humble postal letter used by him, properly targeted, could raise millions of dollars and activate almost as many people, talk radio hosts like rush limbaugh targeted previously ignored audiences through the air waves. now i rely on another scholar brian, he argued the talk conservative host that led to commercial success by stimulating controversy and seeking out provocative topics. mimicked by cable television shows and blogs today. this formula with mobilize true believers. talk radio was a huge factor in eric cantor's defeat.
at the republican party especially john boehner learned the hard way, the potential veto power that activated base provide, makes governing more difficult. to conclude, the four condemning the current system universally. i think we might want to go back to that atsa report of 1950 and consider why those political scientists, why they were eager to create parties that put forward clear ideological positions that mapped on effective programmatic agendas. they in the 1950's a decline in the number of americans voting over the course of the 20th century. that was very much on their mind. they understood that competition and clear choices had made for a
far more participatory electorate in the 19th century with much higher rate of voting. over 100% in chicago some times. they also understood that politics was more than division of material spoils. politics was also about the clash of ideas. they urge politicians to articulate those ideas more vigorously. we all yearn for a day when both parties with work more effectively to resolve their differences. if the congress truly is the most representative branch of the government, i believe it to be that, then we just might have to wait until the nation is less divided ideologically to see that cooperation reemerge in congress. looking back at history, we've arrive at such majority by
excluding large segments of the population or in response to economic disasters and war. presumably something that none of us want. the risk here is that parties parties parties that fail to govern may well hasten such economic disaster or devastating war even as they carry out the will of the people. thank you. [applause]. >> i want to thank both of our speakers. really wonderful survey of american politics. it's reassuring to know that our senator representatives do not go around armed these days. the bullies beat each other up with tweets now rather than with firsts. it's also -- there was a time in our lifetime when there was
bipartisanship when the parties were not as polarized. i joined the staff at a time when the single most conservative senator was a democrat, that was james eastlandeastland of mississippi. the two partyers were internally divided. there was never a party line. every vote was bipartisan, conservatives both parties voted against the liberals if both parties. that was the way things operated. no one ever expected that barry goldwater and jacob would vote the same way. what's happened since then our parties become internally cohesive. they agree with each other in party conferences. there is very much middle ground. the parties have changed very
dramatically. the parties are an external force. they are decided and people elected are decided by the voters. the nation has changed the partisanship that exist today. if there's -- if two members of one party vote with the rest of the other party, it's declared to be a bipartisan vote. they are so desperate to get any kind of swing. i think we've gotten a really good foundation of what brought us to the era that we are in today. i like to open the floor to you to raise some questions of our speakers. you can identify yourself. >> my name is laura. my question is for dr. freeman i enjoyed your presentation. one of your scenes was how the lack of party product -- structure
was the lack of party. i think that's true today. a decline in regular order and use of the committee system. there's a list. >> immediately it's not controlled by the partisanship. >> absolutely. there are a number of different ways that you can look at that. i'm wondering from your historical background, are there some of those aspects that are more destabilizing than others what seems like a reasonable fix to them to the extent there is none? >> it's an interesting question. one of the factors that shapes
the periods that i'm writing about is of course this is a period particularly when you get to -- definitely democrats. when they're figure out what two party system is going to look like. when i look over the long range of period from the 1790 1790 to 1850's. part of what i'm seeing, no party, party structure and the flip side what you're talking about here, a system that feels like a system. it feels clearly to the people engaged in it. it's not there's party competition, but the people engaged in it, you get a sense there's a structure and there are things percolating. the collapse of that. i don't know. when i was writing out my comments the thing i kept coming back to was distrust in the system.
the distrust that the system is capable of containing what's going on. i can't put my finger other than the thing that i would -- finger on the thing that must be fixed. that's one of the dramatic changes. when you look at people engaged in politics over the long hall. as you see this really growing distrust of the system and less distrust of each other. there's no faith that there's an operational level ground. >> [indiscernible] people start assume if they look around, what's the point of a party ifitis not ideological or problematic? i was in grad school, i struggled with it this idea.
that the party can be coherent. if you can talk about how do the party -- was it an accident of history that the parties existed under banner that contains so much disspirit views in any particular time. how party function if it was so ideologicallyideologically disprit? >> i think joanne put a finger on it up to the invention of the telegraph. which parties could have easily brought ideological perspectives on what role government should play. yet, adjust those on the local level and get away with it. the other thing that i guess you might -- i know what a good
historians you are. it's worth saying, parties were built from the bottom up. for much the american history. today, one finds a much stronger structure, party structure at the national level and all kinds of things. the local level. by having such strong local roots, parties could pursue national platforms but wink. wink on a local level. obviously when harry truman desegregated the military after world war ii, that was something that southern democrats made very clear they weren't going along with. we were still at a point where people expected parties to have differences at the local level. >> i'll add to that word for the structural component of parties. it's always very immediate to
me. when you look at 1798 you see people reaching desperately for that as a means, a mechanism of actually engaging in politics. which has to do with the bottom up. also top down. there's a fascinating letter, thomas jefferson letter, i think in 1799. he has a pamphlet. he wants people to be reading it. in the letter he's literally asking you know there are these clubs where people talk politics. do you think we can give these pamphlets to these clubs. he's reaching for party structure. that's another party equation that's easy to take granted when you look at how to get people to do that thing together. >> from my perspective of seeing how the senate used to operate
when the southern democrats shared all the most important committee, they had a step with their national party agenda. they often blocked significant portions of it. they didn't want to necessarily destroy their national party because the national party majority kept them chairman of the committee. there were lots of places where they gave in on issues and didn't feel they had to oppose on all accounts. folks who worked in the background and talk about how james eastland, chairman of the judiciary committee can work very well with ted kennedy or so many others who were chairman of the subcommittees. as long as it was behind the scenes. today there is no particular advantage for the minority party to give any grounds to the majority party or the majority party to give anything to the minority party. they are not sort of we need your support even if we disagree
with you. >> one more thing. historically in the 19th century, party affiliation was less a choice and more of an identity. you were of the party of your father. these identities were just passed down. there was no such thing as votes. you voted the party ticket. you were of a party. you weren't sitting thinking, democrat republican, independent. that's why third party movements were so crucial because people didn't go from the democratic party to the republican party. they went through a party. very much they went through the republican party. >> at some point, someone referred to one of those third party as a screen. the hide behind the screen and
significant -- cigway from one party to another. [indiscernible] right after the political scientists were urging a strengthening of the party system, what we thought was voters stepping away from the party. independents keeping higher and higher percentage of the population. it's probably not a coincidence that in the last 30 years we've seen more volatility between who controls the chambers. that was dynamic of going back and forth control.
when you by it then from the perspective of a senator or representative 1960, 1965, if you're a republican, you were in the minority. you have no reason to try to alter your behavior because you will never take over the chamber. you might as well go along to get along. that's my own sense. i don't know if this is something that happened prior to last 50 years. it happened in last 19th century, where it was a affiliation away from the party or volatility swinging back and forth. >> short answer is, i do think it matters. obviously the chance or lack of a chance that the minority has how they're going to deal with the majority. i also think in the period that i write about as don was saying, also have something to do with
what the press is or isn't seen how minority is behaving. among my population, you see people taking very strong minority stands on the floor and walking over to someone's desk and saying -- we can do this if you -- actual political game. i think that's part of it as well. i'm sure one could put one's fingers on specific congresses. >> certainly from the mckinley-brian election through 1930 it's not as powerful as the democratics starting in 19 1932. you do have a republican majority. what you get then, as you got with the democratic majority, the new geo coalition are the power factions within a party. you have two republicans running
against each other in 1912. we get woodrow wilson only there was these factions within the republican party that split. if you take that out, to generalize, you have a republican majority. i should have been more aflicked what i was really saying in the conclusions of my talk, when you have a populace -- i actually think congress is representative of the people. i'm not one of those who thinks that partisanship is a battle. i think these people are. i think representatives senators, know more about their constituents than any elected official has ever known at any time in history. i think they know a lot about what they people want. those people who will vote want and those people who might vote in the primary want. that happens not to translate
into great government. >> to have make a distinction between the house and senate. as long as the majority party sticks together, they don't have to talk to the minority. they usually don't. the minority party just gets shut out. the rules of the senate are completely different. it gives huge muscle to the minority. on the days when republicans said 35 senators under dirkson. they were the swing vote. they were the people that were recorded. it's his vote that was so essential to all of that. howard baker carried that on while he was minority leader and transitioned nicely in 1980 ease. the senate had much less of a dramatic turnover when the republicans won in the minority. in the house when the republicans won and 40 years, it was like the french revolution. they changed -- it's like
changing the months of the year, they changed everything. everybody went. the historian went and chaplain went. it was traumatic difference at that stage of the game. i do think you have to like at the psyche of the two institutions. question over here. >> looking at it -- [indiscernible] in 2015, very red state increased gas tax, increased minimum wage, they gave dreamer a right to get driver's license and get rid of the death penalty. they retained secret vote, their speaker and committee chairman. you had democratic speakers and sometimes and committee
chairman. i think nebraska have a fantastic exception? >> are you from nebraska? >> no, i'm not. i'm from indiana. i think nebraska has something going on there that doesn't happen anywhere else. what can this tell us about our problems? >> you presented a heck of a lot of evidence. it's very persuasive. >> [indiscernible] >> it wasn't the early period of republican, number of states had single-bodied legislature. it didn't work. >> certainly yes. like pennsylvania was one that started out that way and switched it up. >> i would ask you how has nebraska maintained
nonpartisanship in a hyper partisan era? >> they tried to reverse the nonpartisan aspect of the amendment. people always said no after 1980 the parties gave up. but the fact that a republican senator, can vote -- when he is committed but has no party to tell him how to vote has to learn about himself. >> laboratories of democracy.
>> time for one question. [indiscernible] >> one of the things i've been looking into it the primary. i wonder if you have any thought thoughts on that? >> i think, the attachment a party has changed dramatically. there was the comment about the rise of independents, the last time i checked, the number of people who identify as independents is almost equal or equal to democrats and republicans. i think there's broadly speaking in the 20th century, much more willingness to change parties and basically disregard the
party label. i think that what has most worked against parties in the 20th century is the ability for people running for office to find out about voters in ways that don't rely on the party. i think that's crucial. we rarely ask, what do parties really do when it comes to informing? we talk about party discipline, there's another side of parties. that's to provide information to people running about what their voters want in what in a mass democracy. for a good 40 or 60 years interest groups begin to challenge parties in terms of providing information about voters. i know i'm not supposed to say that. for at least first half of the 20th century, interest groups
proved that they can provide better information about a group of voters who go to the polls than the parties themselves. that's why elected officials began to move away from party information. the interest groups in the second half of the 20th century and today were replaced by public opinion polling. daily public opinioning polling. if you tell me what you long to whether you play golf and what your income is and race all of these are accessible. i got a very good idea what of set of issues you're interested in. structurally that's been creating erosion of the connection between political parties and the voters themselves.
>> [indiscernible] >> you just figure out which way that lean. you can add the ideological program that we one or the other -- [indiscernible] >> this works really well with getting elected. all of this information. we assembled that information to govern as a nonstarter. this is not what people talk about when they hammer out obamacare. that's the real disconnect as far as i see it. >> well, i want to thank the national history center for providing a nonpartisan basis for us to discuss partisanship
today. i want to thank our speakers. so that we don't have to say that we're shocked to see partisanship existing in the walls of the u.s. congress. i really appreciate your effort today and i hope all of you learn as much as i did that this is a terrific session. thank you very much for coming. [applause]. >> i am a history hub. i do enjoy seeing the fabric of our country and how things they work. >> i love american artifacts is a show. >> it's something i really enjoy. >> with american history tv, it gives you that perspective. >> i'm a c-span fan.
>> this weekend on real america a 1966 film that chronicles the gemini mission. it was another craft in space. here's a preview. >> the gemini mission is based on a target vehicle. it has no holes. right on the nose at 10:00 eastern standard time. atlas launch vehicle ignites. atlas has three main engines. two are booster engines and one is a sustainer engine. the booster engine is cut off
first. 2 minutes and 40 seconds into the flight. the sustainer engine takes off. two small engines on the atlas continue to position it properly. they cut off five minutes six seconds after lift off. today the flight plan calls for a circular orbit of 161 miles. something close to that would be acceptable. the system can be started from the ground and a burn completed to change the orbit. as the final figures come up to the flight officer no inflight burns will be needed. agina has hit the plan circular orbit. this is a good beginning for any rendezvous flight. the news is given to crews about
the communicator. pilot comes back with just what the doctor ordered. >> you can watch the entire program sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern here on american history tv on c-span 3. >> monday on the communicators. jim a private security lawyer and john simpson for the advocacy group exhume watchdog discuss how and whether the fcc should develop privacy regulation for the internet. >> the ftc can no longer regulate that aspect internet access provider or telecommunications service provider at that of the business internet access providers. there's now a rule making coming up where the fcc will decide what to put in place in lieu of more perhaps replicating the
ftc's rules has been under. >> most of the rules that exist existed in the world of telephones. now that they have extended by reclassification, the situation to cover isp's, they have to come up with rules that were appropriate to the world of the internet. not just the telephones. >> watch the communicators monday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span 2. >> each week into the 2016 election, road to the white house rewind brings presidential races. next from the 1988 campaign, new york republican congressman jack
kemp. in 1966, bob dole selected mr. kemp. this event took place at u.s.a. today's headquarters just outside of washington d.c. this is just under an hour. >> good morning. i'm peter pritchard managing editor of special projects for u.s.a. today. this is another in our series of meetings with the presidential candidates in 1988. this morning, we have congressman afternoon kemp republican from new york from western new york where it snows all the time with us. it doesn't s