In his Frankel Lecture, Outsourcing Politics: The Hostile Takeover of Our Hollowed-Out Political Parties, Sam Issacharoff suggests that legal changes have systematically disabled the leadership of political parties from exercising sway over their candidates. As a result, party leaders cannot create the necessary incentives for moderation, and office holders are being swept away from the center by the gales of polarization. This Commentary suggests that, at bottom, Issacharoff isn't asking the right question. His Lecture asks how we can reduce the effects of polarization, when the real question may be whether we can. It's possible that legal changes contributed to rising levels of polarization, but it's also possible that the two phenomena occurred simultaneously or, at the very least, that the latter matters a good deal more than the former.
Date of Authorship for this Version
Gerken, Heather K., "Playing Cards in a Hurricane: Party Reform in an Age of Polarization" (2017). Faculty Scholarship Series. 5166.