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date: 10 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article demonstrates that the focus of scholars on the nature of coalitions within the parties and across parties in the US Congress has been and is that such coalitions are ultimately based on a left-right ideological space. It first describes how party theories of Congress are distinct from preference theories and the implications for coalition theory for two-party systems. It then presents some data that illustrate the rise of cross-party coalitions prior to the Second World War and their fall post-1970s, the argument being that in the Second World War era, a cross-party coalition of southern and border state Democrats with Republicans known as the Conservative Coalition dominated legislative politics and that political science literature follows the patterns observed in the Congress. It further discusses how preferences within and across the parties are significant for understanding policy outcomes. Moreover, the future of intraparty and interparty coalitions is addressed.

Keywords: intraparty coalition, interparty coalition, US Congress, coalition theory, Second World War, Conservative Coalition, policy

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