According to a pair of slides put together by Washington DC lobbying firm Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, the ideological middle in both the US House of Representatives as well as the US Senate has all but disappeared. And it has happened very quickly, in the span of about 30 years.
Using the National Journal's annual vote ratings, the firm looked at the most liberal Republican and the most conservative Democrat and then counted the number of members of each house of Congress in between these two poles.
Back in 1982, there were 344 members of the US House who made up the ideological middle, or a full 79 percent. Thanks in large part to redistricting, that number dropped to 137 members in 2002, and finally, in 2013, to just 4 members of the House, or .9 percent.
In the Senate, it is even worse. This body, which is not vulnerable to redistricting, had 58 out of 100 members in the ideological middle in 1982. By 2002, it had just 7. And in 2013, there were zero.
Out of 535 members of Congress, just four members today can be considered part of the ideological middle, or just .7 percent of the entire Congressional body, meaning it's fair to assert that this middle ground is gone in the legislative branch of the US government.
Photo: New York Times