Associate Professor of Political Science DeWayne Lucas and Professor of Political Science Iva Deutchman have published an article in The Forum, the first political science journal to feature peer-reviewed articles focused solely on contemporary American politics.
“This article merges Professor Deutchman’s interest in conservative American politics, and my interest in the House of Representatives and partisan polarization. It is a perfect blending of mutual interests,” says Lucas.
“Electoral Challenges of Moderate Factions: Main Streeters and Blue Dogs, 1994-2008,” examines the relationship between moderate members of Congress and their parties, as well as the dependence of moderate groups ‘The Blue Dog Coalition’ and ‘The Main Street Partnership’ on their party’s control of the House. Lucas and Deutchman present statistical and logical evidence that reveals that these moderate factions receive more support when their party holds minority status.
In the article, Lucas and Deutchman get to the root of the issues faced by these moderate groups. While the struggle to deliver a message that is both centrist and comprehensive is a major problem, moderates also face attack from within their own parties. “Each party takes positions on which they will not compromise,” Deutchman explains. “Republicans and Democrats alike seem to have forgotten their heritage, and instead point fingers. There is a fight within the Republican Party over the extent to which a person can be moderate and still remain a Republican. The same is true for Democrats.”
Lucas and Deutchman conclude that control of the House rests in the hands of the moderates in Congress; the party that best understands the challenges facing moderates might be the party that gains control of the House for the next decade. The trouble, however, lies in understanding moderates. “Parties need to put moderates into more leadership positions; moderates need more of a voice,” Lucas proposes. “The whole party needs to be shielded from extremes. Parties forget moderates, and claim it was the progressives or the conservatives who got elected, who won the seats, when this is not the reality.”
With primaries beginning now, the article is timely and could foresee the impact of the 2010 elections on congressional discourse. “Primaries are a time during which we hear more from moderates. Issues that The Blue Dogs ran on in 2008 were ignored, and are now getting more lip service in the primaries,” says Lucas.
Lucas and Deutchman began collaborating several years ago. With Will Cox ’06, the pair completed a paper for the New York State Political Science Association, which Lucas and Deutchman later refined and published. The professors wrote a second article together last year, “Five Factions, Two Parties: Caucus Membership in the House of Representatives, 1994- 2002,” which was published in Congress & the Presidency. This publication in The Forum marks their third collaboration. The article can be found on The Forum’s website: http://www.bepress.com/forum/vol8/iss2/art2/
The article was also featured on FiveThirtyEight, a popular political blog.
Lucas holds a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in political science from Binghamton University, and a bachelor’s degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in political science. View Lucas’ expert page.
Deutchman holds a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University in political science and economics. View Deutchman’s expert page.