The rise of ideologically coherent, well-disciplined political parties is probably the key fact to focus on if you want to understand contemporary American politics. So it’s very exciting news (well, exciting for politics geeks, anyway) that a new group blog launched this week is devoted to discussing and debating the ways our parties work—and the ways that they often don’t work with our political institutions.
The blog is Mischiefs of Faction—the name is borrowed from a famous line by James Madison—and the authors are political scientists Seth Masket, Hans Noel, and Greg Koger. Masket and Noel may be familiar to regular CJR readers; I interviewed Noel about the “invisible primary” last July, and we’ve cited Masket numerous times, most recently in this look at Colorado’s swing-state status. Koger, meanwhile, has been a guest contributor to the excellent poli-sci blog The Monkey Cage, about which I wrote here.
Everything on the site so far is recommended reading. Here’s Masket on why it was inevitable Republicans would nominate a “flip-flopper,” and on the pointless search for the “real” Barack Obama; Koger on the difference between partisanship and polarization in Congress; and a two-part post from Noel on how modern parties overcome the obstacles Madison put before them, and how popular reform proposals don’t reflect Madison’s insights.
The site promises to be a great addition to the politics blogosphere, and, in the way that it can provide a theoretical framework for understanding day-to-day events, a valuable resource for journalists. Check it out here, and follow the blog’s Twitter account here. (And to figure out what Daniel Day-Lewis has to do with political parties, see Masket’s old blog here.)