The death of the political middle, in one chart

In 1982, there were 344 Members whose voting records fell somewhere between the most conservative voting Democrat and the most liberal voting Republican in the House. Thirty years later, there were 11. That means that in 1982 the centrists — or at least those who by voting record were somewhere near the middle of their respective parties — comprised 79 percent of the House. In 2012 they made up 2.5 percent of the House. So, yeah. …

The deal-makers — as we have seen from the last month in the House — are largely gone. The two people who do seem capable of crafting deals — Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — come from a different time in politics. (Biden was elected to the Senate in 1972, McConnell in 1984.) The middle’s voice in the House is so soft as to be almost non-existent. And it’s hard to see that changing — at least in the near term.

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