The Worst of Both Worlds? Prof. Bjerre-Poulson Spoke at ASL About Hyper-partisanship in US Politics

On June 20, 2013, Prof. Niels Bjerre-Poulsen spoke at ASL as part of the Summer Lecture Series. In his talk, titled “The Worst of Both Worlds? The American Political System in a Time of Hyper-partisanship,” Bjerre-Poulsen tracked the development of the party system in the US from the 1850s to the most recent elections, focusing particularly on the Republican Party. Bjerre-Poulsen also tried to find explanations for the increasing gap between the two parties in recent years, especially considering that while the American population became more polarized in terms of party affiliation, this has not been true for other values. One cause of the increasing partisanship, Bjerre-Poulsen said, is the inability of Republicans to work across party lines and to compromise. Candidates experience more pressure concerning their political decisions as they are more and more funded by individuals with a certain political agenda. “The entire culture in Washington has changed,” Bjerre-Poulsen said, predicting that, unless they change, Republicans will turn into a permanent minority party.