September 23, 2008
Hard Times Continue in America's Laboratory for Democracy: Wisconsin Legislative Politics 1966, 2006, and 2008
In a recent WISCAPE report, Jacob Stampen compared Wisconsin state lawmakers in two legislative sessions (1965-1966 and 2005-2006) and found little change in the personal characteristics of the legislators but major differences in voting behavior. The findings indicated a dramatic and possibly harmful shift in the operation of the state’s political system, including how decisions are made about higher education policy.
Now, Stampen has extended his analysis into the 2007-2008 session. His latest findings point to a political system still in gridlock--despite significant changes brought about by the 2006 election--one that magnifies the influences of special interest groups from outside of the Legislature and marginalizes the involvement of state and local groups in the policymaking process.
Using cluster analysis to graphically display the striking differences in the voting patterns of each session, Stampen will discuss the implications of the current political system for postsecondary education and public policy in general.