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Cloture Reform and Party Government in the Senate, 1918–1925


Gregory Koger is assistant professor of political science, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812.


Why does filibustering persist in the U.S. Senate? This article analyzes senators’ preferences toward majority cloture from 1918 to 1925, a crucial period in Senate history. I find that majority party members were more likely to support stricter cloture rules, but support for cloture reform diminished within both parties for senators far from the party median. I find little evidence that support or opposition to cloture reform was linked to seniority, prior House experience, legislative activism, or state size. These findings are consistent with the micro-level claims of conditional party government theory.