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Incremental PolarizationA Unified Spatial Theory of Legislative Elections, Parties and Roll Call Voting$
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Justin Buchler

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190865580

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190865580.001.0001

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The Collective Action Problem in Practice

The Collective Action Problem in Practice

(p.116) 6 The Collective Action Problem in Practice
Incremental Polarization

Justin Buchler

Oxford University Press

The manner in which the House of Representatives passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010 demonstrated the principles of the unified model and the concept of “preference-preserving influence.” Representative Bart Stupak led a group of pro-life Democrats who threatened to sink the Senate’s unamended version of the bill, which the House needed to pass once Scott Brown won a special election, and Democrats could no longer invoke cloture on a House-Senate reconciliation bill. Any one of Stupak’s group could vote against the bill without causing the bill to fail and had electoral incentives to do so, but each had policy reasons to prefer passage, meaning that they were subject to a collective action problem. Party leadership solved that collective action problem, and without party leadership doing so, the Affordable Care Act would not have passed.

Keywords:   Affordable Care Act, Bart Stupak, healthcare, abortion, party, Congress, 2010, midterm election

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