Post-Election Wrap Up with Craig Volden Nov 13, 2018 By Molly Hannon Post-Election Wrap Up with Craig Volden On Monday, Nov. 12, Batten students gathered in the Great Hall of Garrett Hall for a post-election wrap-up led by Batten’s Center for Effective Lawmaking (CEL). This was not a typical Batten Hour with the exception that food was served. Rather, the event was reminiscent of a game of musical chairs. Every eight minutes, students moved to a new table, where CEL Director Craig Volden, Operations Director Greer Kelly, CEL researchers and interns, along with Professor of Practice of Public Policy Gerald Warburg, discussed the implications of last Tuesday's midterm election results. What do election campaigns tell us about the likelihood of effective lawmaking? What are some of the opportunities for reform and policymaking in the new Congress? How can members of the public help new members of Congress become more effective lawmakers? These were just some of the questions posed to students during the allotted eight-minute segments. CEL Director Craig Volden The Center for Effective Lawmaking, while a nascent research center at the Batten School, has made inroads since its inception in fall 2017. The center, run by Volden and Alan Wiseman of Vanderbilt University, seeks to advance the generation, communication, and use of new knowledge about the effectiveness of individual lawmakers and legislative institutions in Congress. The center strives to create a Congress comprised of effective lawmakers with strong institutional capacity and the incentive structure needed to address America’s greatest public policy challenges. For a school of public policy, this is an invaluable resource. Monday’s Batten hour demonstrated the center's range when it comes to examining the habits that breed effective lawmaking. How does an election and its aftermath both influence and impact lawmaking—for better or for worse? “These wide-ranging discussions between the Center for Effective Lawmaking and members of the Batten and Charlottesville communities provided numerous valuable insights,” Volden said. “During the discussions, we heard suggestions about bringing our work to the attention of additional audiences, about providing support to new members of Congress, and about some new directions for research. At the same time, participants were able to glean insights about what to expect from lawmaking in the new Congress.” As the dust settles from last Tuesday's midterm election, the question of what's next for Congress looms large. For students of public policy, those questions beget more questions — making a Batten hour of this nature pertinent and beneficial for students eager to discuss the implications of the midterm results. Batten Professor of Practice of Public Policy Gerald Warburg "The benefit here was that I was able to give them a specific synthesis of what Democrats, Republicans and Trump administration officials have told me are their goals," Warburg said. "By making events that will impact students' lives greatly more accessible, I believe we empower them as learners. [We] teach better when we press students to form their own focused questions and to commit to life-long learning to address them as good citizens, and not just regurgitate approved answers to get a good grade." Craig Volden Craig Volden is a professor of public policy and politics, with appointments in the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics. He studies legislative politics and the interaction among political institutions, including within American federalism. Read full bio Gerald Warburg Warburg teaches courses at the Batten School on Congress, U.S. foreign policy and advocacy strategies. He is the lead faculty member in the Batten School massive open online course (MOOC) “Public Policy Challenges of the 21st Century,” which is available on Coursera. Read full bio Related Content Craig Volden Spatial Models of Legislative Effectiveness Research Spatial models of policymaking have evolved from the median voter theorem through the inclusion of institutional considerations such as political parties, committees, and various voting and amendment rules. Such models, however, implicitly assume that no policy is more effective than another at solving public policy problems and that all proposers are equally capable of advancing proposals. Party Calls and Reelection in the US Senate Research Minozzi and Volden advance the idea that a substantial portion of partisan voting activity in Congress is a simple call to unity that is especially easily embraced by ideological extremists. If correct, Minozzi and Volden’s findings should extend from the House to the Senate, despite differences in institutional structures and in tools at the disposal of party leaders across the two chambers. Congress is back in town. Here’s why lawmakers will struggle to get much done. News Congress is back from its August recess, and lawmakers face public demands for action on issues as varied as health care, infrastructure, gun safety and trade. Legislators face at least one set of “must pass” agenda items: 12 spending bills that need to be enacted into law by Oct. 1 or the federal government will shut down. Professor Jay Shimshack Appointed Batten School Associate Dean for Academic Affairs News The Batten School announced the appointment of Professor Jay Shimshack as associate dean for academic affairs. Shimshack succeeds Professor Craig Volden, who will conclude his distinguished four-year term as associate dean at the end of June and transition to the role of interim dean of the Batten School until Dean-elect Ian Solomon’s arrival on Sept. 1. Gerald Warburg Dispatches from the Eastern Front: A Political Education from the Nixon Years to the Age of Obama Research A naïve undergraduate is transported from a small California town to the intensely competitive world of Capitol Hill policymaking. Gerald Felix Warburg’s memoir is not just a story about four decades in Washington, although a life spent as a House of Representatives and Senate staffer, and as a lobbyist and professor, provides remarkable insight into the struggles, the strategies, and the people of the U.S. capital. Nonprofileration Policy Crossroads Research On October 1, 2008, Congress enacted a proposal that originated with President George W. Bush in 2005 to approve an unprecedented nuclear trade pact with India by removing a central pillar of US nonproliferation policy. Despite the numerous political challenges confronting the Bush administration, the initiative won strong bipartisan support, including votes from Democratic Senators Joseph Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama. President Ryan Speaks to Batten Students About the Current State of American Higher Education News There’s no denying the state of American higher education is at a crossroads. From front-page news of admissions scandals to politicians promising and demanding free education for all, American colleges and universities are being increasingly scrutinized—and for good reason. The University of Virginia is no exception. The Significance of Batten Hosting Fifth District Debate News The non-partisan debate was moderated by Batten Professors Craig Volden and Gerald Warburg.