5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

Book Launch | Changing Cultures in Congress: From Fair Play to Power Plays

The United States Congress has been described as dysfunctional, gridlocked, polarized, hyperpartisan, chaotic, and do-nothing. In Changing Cultures in Congress, congressional scholar Donald R. Wolfensberger explains the institutional dynamics behind Congress’s devolution from a respected legislative institution to a body plagued by a win-at-any-cost mentality and a culture of perpetual campaigning. 

Through historical sketches and case studies from the past decade under both Republican and Democratic majorities, he shows how both parties have gamed what the founders intended would be an impartial set of legislative rules into a system that advantages majorities and marginalizes minorities. Digging deeper than superficial partisan explanations, Wolfensberger gives a thorough and persuasive explanation for our legislative leaders’ inability to find substantive policy solutions that are in the national interest.

11-01-2018 Changing Cultures in Congress: From Fair Play to Power Plays




  • Donald Wolfensberger

    Congressional Fellow
    former Director, the Congress Project, Woodrow Wilson Center; Former Staff Director, House Rules Committee