My newest post at America magazine looks at the theory of "satisficing," or picking the first option that's good enough, and how it could help Hillary Clinton if she runs for president in 2016. I also express doubt that a breakdown in "civility" is what's causing a polarized Congress:
Naturally, voting with one’s party leadership is the first option considered by a member of Congress, and there’s a rarely a good reason to look past it, which means tinkering with the way we elect people isn’t necessarily going to change much in Washington. But through much of the 20th century, there was a counterbalance to partisanship. Democrats from Southern and rural districts, and Republicans from Northeastern and urban districts, represented constituencies at odds with their respective party’s national leadership. For these members of Congress — think of Ben Nelson in Nebraska or Olympia Snowe in Maine — independence from their party’s leadership was so essential that crossing party lines was often the satisficing option.
Read the whole post here.