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A stunning visualization of our divided Congress

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Networking provides a good visualization.

Political polarization is on the rise, and with it come lots of clever new ways to visualize that polarization. I've even taken a crack at it myself. A group of researchers recently gave it another go in a paper published in PLOS One, and while it doesn't tell us anything we don't already know, it's nonetheless one of the more effective visualizations of rising partisanship that I've seen. Take a gander.

You'll see that they've created network diagrams for each House of Representatives from 1949 to 2011. They've drawn dots for each representative, and lines connecting pairs of representatives who vote together a given number of times. Finally, the dots for each representative are placed according to how frequently the Representatives vote together overall.

What we're left with is a picture of political mitosis. Similar voting between Democrats and Republicans was fairly common up through the 1980s. But starting in the 1990s the parties began pulling apart from each other, like a single cell dividing into two.

Reddit comments:

"Political mitosis" is an interesting term.

Interesting and highly apropos!

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