Hyper partisanship has gridlocked the American government. Congress's approval ratings are at record lows, and both Democrats and Republicans are disgusted by the government's inability to get anything done. In It's Even Worse than It Looks, Congressional scholars Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein present a grim picture of how party polarization and tribal politics have led Congress—and the United States—to the brink of institutional failure.
The authors bring their seminal book up-to-date in a political environment that is more divided than ever. The underlying dynamics of the situation—extremist Republicans holding government hostage to their own ideological, anti-government beliefs—have only gotten worse, further bolstering their argument that Republicans are not merely ideologically different from Democrats, but engaged in a unique form of politics that undermines the system itself. Without a fundamental change in the character and course of the Republican Party, we may have a long way to go before we hit rock bottom.
Norman Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies politics, elections, and the US Congress. He is a cohost of AEI’s Election Watch series, a contributing editor and columnist for National Journal and The Atlantic, a BBC News election analyst, and the chairman of the Campaign Legal Center.
Thomas E. Mann is a political scientist, author, and pundit who works at the Brookings Institution. He primarily studies and speaks on elections in the United States, especially campaign finance reform. In The Rise and Fall of the Media Establishment, Darrell West calls Mann “The king of the pundits”, for his numerous appearances on CNN and in prominent newspapers such as The Washington Post.