Attorney, lobbyist, small business owner, entertainer, database djinni of mass destruction... I like political trivia, diagramming Koine sentences, teaching geometry to my daughters, and having my creative writing projects enacted into the United States Code. More: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/adam-nordstrom
One hundred seventy-five million years ago, Earth had one super continent – Pangaea. Enormous tectonic forces broke this landmass into the continents of our time.
A new supercontinent has been formed in American politics. Trumpangaea: A continent that has elected Donald Trump contrary to the expectations of political insiders, commentators, and pollsters.
Hillary Clinton secured more popular votes than Donald Trump, and for the fifth time, the presidency was won by the loser of the popular vote. Clinton lost the Electoral College because her voters are “inefficiently distributed.” State-level election maps fail to convey the concentration of Clinton’s votes. This inefficient distribution becomes apparent when vote data is shown at the county level. The counties carried by Clinton, when mapped alone, take on the appearance of an archipelago: The Clintopelago.
With the first session of the 114th Congress in the books several observations occur to me: (1) I’ve now worked in or around Congress for over 9% of its history – that seems like a lot to me; and (2) Congress has changed a lot in 20 years.
Over time Republicans have become less willing to cosponsor legislation and Republicans are much more alike in their willingness to cosponsor bills than Democrats. Democrats show more variety in their willingness to cosponsor bills, and on average do so more often than Republicans. Democrats have recently shown less willingness to cosponsor bills (as weighted by the number of bills outstanding) and this tendency has varied congress to congress. Since the 104th Congress Republicans have demonstrated a decreasing tendency to cosponsor bills when weighted by the number of bills outstanding.
In short: If your job is to get congressmen to support a legislative initiative—and to prove their support in an official way prior to a vote—then your job has become much harder in the last 20 years.
After the recent Parliamentary elections in the United Kingdom, The Economist  posted a map showing election results with each of the 650 seats in the House of Commons shown as a hexagon.  The hexagons caught my attention because they reminded me of a misspent youth in role-playing games where maps based on hexagons made a regular appearance (“Nerds!”). Maps where political subdivisions of different size are given equal ink (or pixels) can reveal trends that would otherwise be obscured in urban areas.
Woohoo! Back up and running! After several months with jacked up data base queries, broken Java code, crazy children (including a five-year old Lisa Simpson), the start of the Postseason, and a real job, I have finally found the time to get my cosponsor tracking back up and running – only half way through the 114th Congress – c’est la vie.
The last few weeks have been crazy on the Hill: Speaker resigning; Speaker-to-be withdrawing; Speaker-wanna-bes talking big game; Speakers-that-could-be not in the hunt.
Images from The Bridge on the River Kwai; Columbia Pictures Corporation, 1957
Madness! Madness! Despite the madness there are some aggressive cosponsor getters out there a little less than half way through the 114th (the bill I get paid to work among them). Clearly there are at least a couple things that most members can agree on. In addition to trying to keep a running total I will also try on some new visualizations in the coming days. Here is the list for the House Top 25 as of October 10, 2015 [Click here to jump to the Senate list]:
A joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5…
 Shockingly all of the clips on YouTube cut out the repetition of the phrase “Madness!” It’s the definitive non-whistling line of the movie. It’s like clipping Cleopatra and leaving out Roddy McDowell’s Oscar-winning monologue (jump to 5:00 in the linked clip). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bjBIJjglq8
The top 25 leader board in the House this week remained relatively stable with only one new bill re-joining the list: H.R. 986, Rep. Richard Hudson’s (R-NC) Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, with 113 Republican and 1 Democratic cosponsors. This bill had previously been on the list, dropped off, and H.R. 986 rejoins the list at #25, displacing the previous #25, Rep. Bradley Byrne’s H.R. 596 a bill to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. Continue reading Most cosponsored House bills in 114th Congress as of 20 March 2015→
This week the House came in to pro forma session on March 10 and again on March 13. Staff for lead sponsors who are quick on the draw can add cosponsors to a bill even though very few, if any, Representatives are in town. On March 10 the House was in pro forma session for 2 minutes and 13 seconds. Eleven bills with 62 original cosponsors were introduced, and a total of 156 cosponsors were added to 44 different bills. On March 13 the House was in pro forma session for 5 minutes and 55 seconds. Thirteen bills with 44 original cosponsors were introduced, and a total of 158 cosponsors were added to 47 different bills.
So, why pro forma? Art. I, sec. 5, cl. 4 of the Constitution requires that, “Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.” The House was on a district work period this week with most Representatives working outside of Washington, while the Senate remained in session. This triggered the Constitutional requirement for a pro forma session of the House on Tuesday the 10th and again on Friday the 13th.
There were no changes to the overall composition of the Senate leader board over the past week. In the House leader summary I noted that eight of the top 25 House bills are sponsored by Democrats. In the Senate, six of the top 25 are sponsored by Democrats. Only one of those bills, Sen. Menendez’s (D-NJ) S.Res. 87 (114th Cong.) had any Republican cosponsors.
The other five Democratic authored bills have zero Republican cosponsors between them (all five are cosponsored by both Independent Senators). Of course, this is replicated on the other side of the aisle with nine Republican authored bills in the top 25 also lacking any Democratic cosponsors (neither Independent cosponsored either). This is not surprising at this early stage of the Congress, and the top 25 is unlikely to maintain these partisan splits as the Congress progresses.
Three new contenders joined the House cosponsorship leader board this week: HR 1190, HR 1260 and HR 1286. These bills displaced HR 317 (previously #23), HR 986 (prev. #24), and HRes 117 (prev. #25) from the top 25.
Interestingly, three of the top five are sponsored by Democrats: HR 431 (#1), HR 861 (#4), and HR 1031 (#5). Five additional Democratic bills, for a total of 8 Democratic sponsored bills are in the top 25. At the end of the 113th Congress only four Democratic sponsored bills remained in the top 5. The most cosponsored of those bills was Rep. Sewell’s (D-AL) HR 360 (113th Cong.; #14T). As noted, Rep. Sewell’s HR 1031 (114th Cong.) is currently at #5.