|Cartoon ripped from Jim Morin of Miami Herald|
Today, we are in the fourth year of our most recent iteration of federal divided government. We have a Democratic President, a Democratic majority in the Senate, and a Republican majority in the House of Representatives. Democrat Barack Obama will be our President through 2016. History and recent polls tell us there is no realistic probability that Republicans will lose majority control of the House in the 2014 mid-terms, so we will continue to “enjoy” divided government for the rest of President Obama's term regardless of any shifts in the makeup of the Senate.
One of the more interesting political science questions about divided government is the question of why the American electorate continues to vote for divided government. It is a fact that in the modern era we elect a divided government far more often than not. Why we choose divided government and whether we choose it consciously or accidentally is a subject of analysis and speculation. Is it truly a preference? Is it a statistical artifact? Is it the result of conscious strategic voting? Or is it the expression of a subconscious preference from an inchoate confused electorate?