SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Divided government scholarship focuses either on evaluating divided government's correlation to legislative gridlock or on its tendency toward interparty squabbling. I argue that one overlooked aspect of divided government is its impact on intraparty dynamics: Divided government offers the controlling congressional party incentives to raise controversial issues to damage the coherence of the president's party. Revealing the tensions within the president's party serves to embarrass the president, increase the electoral chances of the majority party in Congress, and ultimately shift public policy. This phenomenon can be understood through Riker's theory of heresthetic. The contemporary debates between President Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress over abortion and gay rights provide ample evidence that this theory of divided government is compelling and war-rants further consideration.