Who Votes the Most Against their Party?

Philip Bump: “Using data from GovTrack, we looked at every vote taken in the House and Senate so far in the 114th Congress. We figured out the majority position for each party (in cases where it was not unanimous) and compared every member of each body’s vote against the party majority.”

“The member of the House most willing to buck his party is Walter Jones (R-N.C.), who has voted against the Republican majority more than one-third of the time. On the Democratic side, the high-water mark is Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), who’s at 30 percent.”

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  • Red Phillips

    Mitch McConnell on this list (even at ten percent) was a genuine surprise. It may be revealing to see the other side of the spectrum with who totes the party line the most.

    • Matt Drabek

      Not sure how much I’d read into McConnell being on there. He might have to vote against his party every now and then for procedural reasons.

    • Rhodent

      I could be wrong, but I’m guessing that his presence on the list is strategic. With cloture votes, if the vote ends up being against cloture, then someone who voted against it can later file a motion to bring it up for another vote, while those against would not. When Harry Reid was senate majority leader, he would often vote against cloture when Republicans were filibustering (and voting against cloture) so that he could bring it up for another vote later. My guess is McConnell does the same.

      • Grisha

        exactly

  • Calbengoshi

    Most of the Senators and Representatives on this list come from states or districts that are “purple” or tend to lean toward the other party, and many of them were elected by getting votes from members of the other party as a result of taking positions during their respective campaigns that were not approved by the “base” of their own party.

    Thus, their votes can be explained as doing whatever is necessary to stay in office, as an attempt to reflect the desires of those who voted for them, or simply as voting consistently with what they said during their respective campaigns.

    • MarqusW

      SHAZAM!!! That’s what a “representative” is SUPPOSED to do, isn’t it?

      • Calbengoshi

        Two of the three are part of what a representative is supposed to do. Doing whatever is necessary to stay in office isn’t.

        • MarqusW

          Ummmm…Why should the people send home those reps who reflect the desires of those who voted for them? And if they do reflect the desires of those who voted for them, why is their staying in office such a bad thing?

          I imagine you’re part of the crowd who wants — but hasn’t completely thought through the implications of – term limits for Members of Congress…in addition to sending the riff-raff home automatically, term limits would also end the careers of those like these folks who actually do a decent job of representing their constituents…Just because the voters don’t occasionally have the guts to turn out the bad ones doesn’t necessarily mean we should impose artificial limits on the good ones…

          • Calbengoshi

            Your imagination is off the mark — I do not believe in term limits for Congress. I also do not believe that “doing whatever is necessary to stay in office” is in any way synonymous with “reflecting the desires of those who voted for them.”

  • southerndemnut

    Voting against your party 30% of the time is a lot in these hyper partisan days but historically hardly an aberration. 30 years ago is was quite routine. As we continue to move towards ideological hegemony in each party, these figures will continue to go down.

  • Grisha

    the real question, is how many times does a Congress person vote against their party when it actually matters. I can’t recall Susan Collins, for example, ever crossing party lines on a truly close vote.

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