National Party Control in the United States

Nov. 22, 2016 Weekly Graphs

The Republican Party also won a majority of the seats in both chambers of Congress, meaning that a single party will control both the executive and legislative branches of the US government. In a system like the American – with many checks and balances – it can really make a difference if the same party holds the presidency and the majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate. This week’s graph takes a look at party control over time in the US.

With the Country Graph tool and the National Party Control variable we can see whether the executive and legislative branches are controlled by a coalition consisting of multiple parties (a value of 0), divided amongst different parties (1) or by a single party (2).  From the graph it is interesting to note that since 1900 the American government has frequently alternated between a government controlled by the two different parties (1) or controlled by a single party (2), like with the newly elected government. What effects it will have that the Republican Party holds both the presidency and the chambers can be analyzed with future V-Dem updates.

You can learn more about party politics in the United States or investigate national party control in governments across the globe by using the online analysis tool at


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