Nathaniel Birkhead of the University of Colorado – Why Data is an Important Communication Tool

November 2, 2023  

  • Congressional Reform
  • Video

About Nathaniel Birkhead: Dr. Birkhead studied Political Science from the University of Colorado and his PhD from Indiana University. He is currently an Associate Professor and Department Head of Political Science at the Kansas State University, Department of Political Science. He has written articles that have appeared in journals like Legislative Studies Quarterly, Political Research Quarterly and American Politics Research. Dr. Birkhead is also a co-author of the book Congress in Reverse: Repeals from Reconstruction to the Present.


0:03 – Background
1:42 – What drew you in and why?
3:29 – What is the relationship between constituents and their representatives?
5:47 – What do you mean when you say sanction?
6:11 – When you say ballot box, do you mean general or primary election?
6:58 – Would radicalized candidates make it to the general election?
7:58 – How informed is the media?
9:25 – What kind of reporting is relevant?
11:10 – Is there two-way communication between the legislator and the media?
12:57 – Does social media count as local media?
14:25 – Is there any quantitive change?
15:26 – Anything else on the constituent-legislator connection?
18:17 – Are there any other kinds of words or things that have demonstrated that same cyclical nature? 20:40 – What questions did you have regarding repeals?
24:50 – Repeals that have been successful in Congress
25:55 – Why would they need to tear down the opposing party’s flag?
27:55 – How bad is it in terms of partisanship?
30:50 – what the subjects of the repeal are over long periods of time?
32:46 – Is there any kind of commonality among all of these different things that are under the repeal banner versus things that aren’t?
34:46 – talk through a little bit about what you’re doing in that area?
37:55 – Should governors follow their own views?
40:29 – What about on a national level?
41:49 – Did that similar thing happen in COVID in the Senate?
43:26 – Final thoughts
44:21 – What do you think congressional representation should mean?
47:27 – So you’re on the delegate side of things rather than the trustee side?
48:29 – How does that square with your notion of the future
50:26 – Trustee model versus the delegate model
52:15 – How would your ideal Congress allocate its time in terms of DC versus the home district
53:54 – Do you see a difference between this legislation versus oversight work?
55:20 – How should debate, deliberation, or dialogue occur or be structured in Congress?
57:10 – What fundamental institutional improvement should Congress make within 50 years?
59:10 – What book or article most shaped your thinking with respect to congressional reform?
1:00:14 – What are your plans for the future.