Intraparty Dealmaking and Partisan Bloc Voting
This chapter looks at the partisan politics of floor procedure in the Senate, an important source of party conflict. Here the majority party wants to focus debate on its party “message,” while the minority party would like to change the subject to other issues. Moreover, the outcome of procedural disputes determines who will wield legislative power. This chapter shows that the extremely high levels of partisanship on procedural matters cannot be attributed to senators' policy preferences alone. Instead, the evidence strongly suggests that partisans resort to teamsmanship on procedural matters in order to pursue common electoral and power interests. Procedural votes are highly partisan, regardless of underlying issue content. Indeed, partisanship is more pronounced on procedural votes than on substantive votes. The intense levels of partisan conflict in the contemporary Senate can be ascribed in large part to improved teamsmanship on procedural matters. As institutionalized teams, party members cooperate with one another and come into conflict with the opposition for reasons other than ideology.
Keywords: partisan politics, floor procedure, Senate, party conflict, partisanship, teamsmanship, procedural votes, ideology