Polarization without Parties: Term Limits and Legislative Partisanship in Nebraska’s Unicameral Legislature

State Politics & Policy Quarterly (Forthcoming)

41 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2011 Last revised: 16 Jan 2015

Seth E. Masket

University of Denver

Boris Shor

University of Houston - Department of Political Science; Georgetown University, Department of Government

Date Written: August 6, 2014

Abstract

Despite a long history of nonpartisanship, the Nebraska state legislature has polarized rapidly within the past decade. Using interviews and campaign finance records, we examine politics in the modern Unicam to investigate nonpartisan polarization. We find that newly-instituted term limits created opportunities for the state’s political parties to recruit and finance candidates in an increasingly partisan fashion. Social network analysis suggests that there is a growing level of structure to campaign donations, with political elites increasingly less likely to contribute across party lines. The results offer a compelling example of parties overcoming institutions designed to eliminate them.

Keywords: Nebraska, ERGM, campaign finance, nonpartisanship, state legislatures, social networks

Suggested Citation

Masket, Seth E. and Shor, Boris, Polarization without Parties: Term Limits and Legislative Partisanship in Nebraska’s Unicameral Legislature (August 6, 2014). State Politics & Policy Quarterly (Forthcoming). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1916342 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1916342

Seth E. Masket (Contact Author)

University of Denver ( email )

Sturm Hall, Room 466
2000 E. Asbury Ave.
Denver, CO 80208
United States
303-871-2718 (Phone)
303-871-2045 (Fax)

Boris Shor

University of Houston - Department of Political Science ( email )

Houston, TX 77204-3011
United States

Georgetown University, Department of Government ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States
3122834599 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://research.bshor.com

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