Who Has the Ear of Your Legislators and Why They Can’t Seem to Get Anything Done

We’re six months away from one of the most consequential midterm elections in modern history, and Americans are fed up with Congress. Politicians have gotten a bad rap throughout history, but today’s legislators are setting record lows in approval ratings and public trust. What gives? Why do they disappoint us so often? Are they really ignoring our needs and demands, or are we misunderstanding the challenges they face?

In this episode, Sarah Anderson shows that it’s a little of both: politicians don’t listen to all constituents equally, but they also can’t just snap their fingers and fulfill our wishes.

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the player here. Or  download it and subscribe through ApplePodcastsSoundcloudGoogle Play,  Stitcher, or your favorite podcasting app – click the links or search “usc bedrosian.”

Who Do Politicians Really Represent & Do We Notice?

With Donald Trump’s approval ratings at record lows, it’s worth asking how much this one number matters…and whether the people who approve really are better represented by him than the people who don’t. If our politicians really do represent some Americans better than others, it calls into question the very foundational ideals of our representative democracy.

In this episode, Brian Newman uncovers who’s represented, who’s not, and how it affects their view of government.

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the player here. Or  download it and subscribe through ApplePodcastsSoundcloudGoogle Play,  Stitcher, or your favorite podcasting app – click the links or search “usc bedrosian.”

New paper: Distributive politics and congressional voting: public lands reform in the Jacksonian era

New paper published: “Distributive politics and congressional voting: public lands reform in the Jacksonian era” by Sean Gailmard, Jeffery A. Jenkins

During the 1830s, Congress passed a series of laws reforming U.S. policy on acquiring public lands. These laws established a federal land policy of preemption, under which squatters on public land obtained legal title to it in exchange for payment of a minimum (and low) price per acre. Preemption significantly liberalized the terms of land ownership in the U.S. We analyze roll call voting on the preemption acts in Congress from a distributive politics perspective …

Why the Federal Reserve Is More Politically Constrained Than You Think

We’ve been having a mistaken debate, or so it would seem based on the new book The Myth of Independence. The Federal Reserve, the nation’s central bank and most influential economic regulator, isn’t as independent as critics like Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders suggest. Congress created it, and Congress continues to shape it to the people’s will. This new perspective might just change your expectations about Fed policy and your appreciation for their delicate strategic work. This episode features Sarah Binder, professor of political science at George Washington University and a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution.

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the player here. Or  download it and subscribe through ApplePodcastsSoundcloudGoogle Play,  Stitcher, or your favorite podcasting app – click the links or search “usc bedrosian.”

‘Parties & Partisanship in the Age of Trump’ symposium gathers scholars nationwide at USC Bedrosian Center

According to Bedrosian Center Director Jeffery Jenkins, “there are few issues more important today than partisanship. We live in a world today where partisan divisions run so deep that some of the most basic things we expect from government aren’t being done.  People inside and outside of Congress are more interested in skewering the other side rather than work together or find common ground.”

Parties & Partisanship in the Age of Trump Symposium

Partisan polarization has steadily increased in recent years. Democrats and Republicans in Congress have become two ideologically divided groups, with little ability to work together to solve the nation’s problems. And, citizens have increasingly used partisanship to guide their voting decisions, even as they diverge more and more on answers to the important questions of the day.

As we moved into the second year of Trump’s administration, we explored what partisanship looks like in Congress and the nation.

Governance Salon: Sarah Binder & Mark Spindel

The Myth of Independence: How Congress Governs the Federal Reserve Sarah Binder is professor of political science at George Washington University and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Her books include Advice and Dissent and Stalemate. Mark Spindel has spent his entire career in investment managemetn at such organizations as Salomon Brothers, the World Bank,…

The polls speak: the American people are with the dreamers, not with Trump

La Opinion quoted Sherry Bebitch Jeffe of the USC Price School about the likelihood Congress will pass legislation to protect the Dreamers. “Part of the problem is that there is support for the dreamers, but there is not the same level of popular support to maintain the government closure in exchange for the Dream Act and that was…

In Defense of Our Political Party System (Sort Of)”

Did the recent government shutdown cause your confidence in government to soar?

We thought not. Luckily, Anthony spoke with UC San Diego prof Thad Kousser about where gridlock comes from, what to do about it, and whether politicians really deserve all the blame they get.

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the player here. Or  download it and subscribe through ApplePodcastsSoundcloudGoogle Play,  Stitcher, or your favorite podcasting app – click the links or search “usc bedrosian.”