Gridlock or Logrolling?


So, like lots of people who favor limited government, I'm generally glad to see divided government and a near-even split in the Senate, even if the ideal would probably be Dem executive and GOP Congress rather than the reverse. But it's worth bearing in mind that a healthy bit of gridlock isn't the only option. That's the likely result of a relatively polar split; a legislature heavier on moderates and pragmatists, on the other hand, could, perversely, produce the opposite result, with heavy-vote trading that hands lots of goodies to the minority party in order to secure their acquescence in the things that the majority wants.

One way to think of it is to see divided government as a Prisoner's dilemma, except that if you don't want government to grow, you have to hope the parties don't manage to arrange a cooperative outcome. Should Rep. Mike Pence (R-IL) win his bid for minority leader, I'll be more sanguine about the prospects for gridlock; less so if it goes to Ohio's John Boehner.