The dance of the Rs and Ds
May 31, 2006 8:59 AM Subscribe
Watch political ideologies emerge and shift over hundreds of years.
ANIMATE is an amazing Java app that lets you track graphically
the ideological position of all the representatives to the US Congress, European Parliament, or the UN over every roll call vote in history. The really interesting part is that the application uses DW-NOMINATE data that maps the ideology of representatives
, and is pretty good at predicting voting patterns. Voteworld
is a related Java application that is a little less dramatic, but allows you to really dig into the data (to access DW-NOMINATE data in Voteworld, click the little orange sphere icon in the application).
On the US side:"There are two major lessons to take away from ANIMATE. First, over time, you see less and less motion of individual legislators, particularly after the Civil War. This shows the stabilization of the American political system. Second, after the Civil War you will see the major party clusters growing further apart until the turn of the century, then come together and overlap, and beginning in the 1970s draw apart again. That is, throughout most of the twentieth century, political divisions blurred but in the last quarter one sees the polarization of American politics."
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