Skip to main content

Congress: If You Liked 2010-12, You'll Love 2012-14

  • Author:
  • Updated:



Writing at Mischiefs of Faction, the University of Miami's Greg Koger makes a good case for this evening's debate being a prelude to...nothing.

Using current forecasts from Intrade, Koger calculated that regardless of which man wins the Oval Office, the likely balance of power in Congress post-election will make it nearly impossible for either to get anything done.

The crux of the argument is the low probability of a functional legislature post-election. Koger calculated an overwhelming probability that we'd continue with power split strongly enough to make it easy to gridlock the legislative process, should any party in power be so inclined.

The striking implication is that the 2012 elections are highly unlikely to grant either party unified power to implement its preferred policy. There is about a 5% chance of Democratic control, 10% chance of GOP control.

There is about a 39% chance that the 113th Congress will repeat the current political alignment, and 46% chance there will be some other form of divided government.

Put another way, that's a 1.5 in ten chance of the next President being likely to get anything done, and an 8.5 in ten chance he won't.

On the other hand, this evening's next week's debate is supposed to focus on foreign policy, an area in which the White House doesn't always bother to consult Congress anyway. So there's that.