Profs and Pints: Getting Congress Beyond Gridlock

January 19, 2019 @ 6:00 pm
Bier Baron Tavern
Beir Baron
1523 22nd St NW, Washington, DC 20037
Profs and Pints: Getting Congress Beyond Gridlock @ Bier Baron Tavern | Washington | District of Columbia | United States

“Getting Congress Beyond Gridlock,” with David Barker, professor of government and director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University.

If “politics is the art of compromise,” Capitol Hill is no Louvre.

Why is the US Congress so often so gridlocked? How can productive bipartisan negotiation be achieved in such a polarized era? Does the historically unique 116th Congress offer any hope?

Professor David Barker will discuss findings from several studies he has conducted over the past few years that shed light on the causes of modern political gridlock.

He’ll describe how gridlock has blossomed due to increases in education, the infusion of questions of morality into political debates, the emergence of “identity” politics, partisan media consumption, and what lawmakers perceive as electoral or cultural threats.  And he’ll discuss how these trends affect Democrats and Republicans in different ways.

Dr. Barker also will talk about how well-intentioned institutional reforms—such as the elimination of earmarks—have tied the hands of legislative negotiators.

Finally, he will examine whether the unique features of the 116th congress offer opportunities for bipartisan cooperation, and predict what we generally can expect to see happening in Congress over the next two years. (Advance tickets: $12. Doors: $15, save $2 with a student ID.)

Advance tickets available at