Predictions of continued polarization have been a safe bet in Washington for more than a decade. Such a wager would have been dead on for 2012. NJ’s annual vote ratings found that historic partisanship once again gripped Congress. For the third year in a row, no Republican member of the Senate had a more liberal voting record than any Democrat—just as no Democratic senator had a more conservative record than any Republican. What was once a milestone in the ongoing march of political polarization—the absence of ideological crossovers in National Journal’s rankings happened for only the second time ever in 2010—is now nearly as unremarkable in the Senate as naming a post office.
The House was barely more heterogeneous. Only 10 Democrats registered a more conservative score than the most liberal Republican; only five Republicans were more liberal than the most conservative House Democrat