In his new book, Constitutional Polarization: A Critical Review of the U.S. Political System (2023), Josep Colomer examines the origins of political polarization in the United States, arguing that it is embedded in constitutional design. He contends the two-party political system and the separation of powers between the office of the president and Congress creates the gridlock the United States is experiencing today. The book reviews the history of bipartisan cooperation and posits why this historical moment is so different from the past. To discuss Colomer’s new book, the Georgetown Americas Institute welcomed Diana Kapiszewski, associate professor of government and the director of the Center for Latin American Studies at Georgetown University; Arturo Valenzuela, emeritus professor of government and foreign service at Georgetown University; Michael Bailey, Colonel William J. Walsh Professor of American Government at Georgetown University; and Colomer for a lively conversation about the future of American government and polarization in the U.S. political system.
This event was co-sponsored by Georgetown Americas Institute and the Center for Latin American Studies.
Josep M. Colomer is a scholar, professor, and author in political science and political economy. Colomer was a professor at Georgetown University, where he is now an associate researcher at its BMW Center for German and European Studies. He is also a current associate researcher at the Institute for Political and Social Studies of the Autonomous University of Barcelona. His areas of expertise include democratization, political institutions, forms of government, electoral and voting systems, the European Union, United States politics, and global political institutions. Colomer is the author or editor of 26 books in six languages and about 200 academic articles and book chapters, as well as several hundred op-ed articles published by newspapers in several countries. He was a founding member of the Spanish Political Science Association (AECPA), a life member of the American Political Science Association (APSA), and an elected member of the Academia Europaea.
Diana Kapiszewski is associate professor of government and the director of the Center for Latin American Studies at Georgetown University. Her research interests include public law, comparative politics, and research methods. Her first book, High Courts and Economic Governance in Argentina and Brazil (2012), which received the APSA Law and Courts Section's C. Herman Pritchett Award, explores high court-elected branch interactions over economic policy in Argentina and Brazil in the post-transition period. Her current work examines judicial politics and the uses of law in Latin America. Kapiszewski received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley in 2007.
Arturo Valenzuela is emeritus professor of government and foreign service at Georgetown University. From 1987 to 2009, he directed the Latin American Studies Program and was the founding director of the Center for Latin American Studies. Valenzuela has previously served as assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere affairs in the U.S. Department of State, special assistant to the president and senior director for inter-American affairs at the National Security Council, and as a consultant to the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. As part of his scholarly work he has served as an advisor on political and constitutional reform in Bolivia, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. He has been a consultant to the Ford Foundation, the Inter-American Foundation, Freedom House, and other non-profit organizations. From 2014 to 2020 he was senior international policy advisor at Covington and Burling, a global law firm headquartered in Washington, DC.
Michael A. Bailey is the Colonel William J. Walsh Professor of American Government in the Department of Government and McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. His research focuses on applying statistical techniques to answering questions at the intersection of political science, policy, law, and economics. In his work on the U.S. Supreme Court, Bailey has studied the role of ideology and legal values on Supreme Court decision-making, producing The Constrained Court: Law, Politics and the Decisions Justices Make with Forrest Maltzman (2011), among other publications. He has done extensive work in public opinion and welfare policy.