You Don't Know Congress - The Ultimate Infographic

Tyler Durden's picture

From the first divide in Congress between supporters (right) and opponents (left) of the Washington Administration to the latest record-breaking level of polarization in the House and the Senate, this stunning visual guide to the right- and left-leaning partisanship and ideology of our politicians over the last 224 years is spell-binding. We particularly enjoyed the chaos in the 1820s as the dominant parties fractured - rang an odd bell.

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Id fight Gandhi's picture

And all owned by Israel.

Gully Foyle's picture

Where do people come up with such bullshit ideas?

Why would anyone believe there was such a great divide in congress?

Why does anyone consider Clinton Left of anything other than Hillaries knee to the groin?

If any one either side really enacted the types of policies supposedly represented by the divide then we the people would be living in some fabulous governemnt haven where our rights are respected and our needs come first.

That graphic is a disingenious piece of shit meant to confuse an already partisan public.

Being that partisan they need less confusion and more direction, less distraction and more reason, less graphics and more representation.

Radical Marijuana's picture

Yeah, that chart only shows the apparent polarization of the controlled puppet politicians. But nevertheless, that does illustrate the deeper historical trends of the overall polarization within the USA. For instance, those who consider the USA to be controlled by Zionists, versus those who do not yet see those social facts.

The basic reality of war is deceits backed by destruction. The war on drugs, and the war on terror, and so forth, are regarded as based on nothing but huge lies by a growing portion of the American public, but those groups have no ways to express themselves effectively within the established systems, since those systems, with their patterns of the funding of politics, and the domination of the mass media, are so totally unbalanced as to be beyond any realistic or practical ways to overcome.

The reality of America is runaway wars based on deceits, and that kind of social polarization goes off the scale of anything portrayed by the statistics used to generate this chart.

notbot's picture

Methinks this smacks of liberal bias, but I just don't care enough to do anything about it.

Here's the chart that would be accurate: Small government (founding fathers) shrunk to a 5% libertarian party.  Republicans became big gov democrats.  Democrats became welfare-state socialists.

YBNguy's picture

"We particularly enjoyed the chaos in the 1820s as the dominant parties..."

There were no parties in the early 20's... The years leading up to the 1824 election were "Years of Good Feelings" with a single "party" of Jeffersonians (Democratic-Republicans). It was the corrupt bargain of '25 that caused the factions inside the single banner to split in two. Van Buren is the father of the first Democratic party that arose from the conflict (Adams Presidency), later Clay was able to establish the National Republicans as a counter-weight. But at the time both were very well defined in what they believed was best- little crossover. 

lasvegaspersona's picture

take me back to Coolidge if not him them to Ike

HardAssets's picture

blah, blah, blah . . . .

and government gets bigger, spending increases, and personal liberty is violated no

matter if 'left' or 'right' is in office.

The American people get screwed.

chump666's picture

Meanwhile psycho Mr. Kocherlakota (Fed nutjob) wants to ease more and flood more USDs NYC way (and everywhere else), nice, real nice.  Already an inflated city, now about to get more price inflation after Sandy and on cue, The Fed want to figure more ways to tip American into a inflation dead zone.


Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

Uh, I thought this would look like a turd, instead of a MRI of a half dead retard. But hey, I don't know politics.

Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

Who is the hater? Have you ever seen a half dead retard?

conspicio's picture

Randall Munroe can suck it. All of it. What a pile of craptastic crap. Paul Ryan is "far right" and Obama is merely "left"?

gatorengineer's picture

You beat me to the same post.....  Ryan is Far Right in Wisconsin, which would make him a democrat in the south....  Dingell and Nutzy are also merely left.....

Bottom Line is Clinton Democrats are now seen as tea partiers... and Hillary is a centrist....


BigJim's picture

Yes, using the DW-NOMINATE method

means that someone like Ron Paul - who advocates the end of the drug war and no more unconditional support for Israel- is seen as 'ultra-right': 

The academics who came up with this schema are like anyone else who see politics through the two-dimensional left-right paradigm -  like Flatlanders attempting to make sense of three dimensional space.

The Gooch's picture

That Lando Calrissian graphic was supposed to go HERE.

FreedomGuy's picture

Does anyone besides me find that graph nearly impossible to read and decipher?

I will posit a different idea. I think we need MORE polarization, not less. Currently, we have two parties and one result. Regardless of which party is in power we get essentially the same result; bigger government, higher spending, more regulation, more departments, less freedom, more wars in more places, more redistribution, less truth, etc. When you have two parties who produce the same result then you have to look at the system. There must be something inherent in the system that drives both parties toward a similar destination or end.

I advocate more polarism. I would prefer that the American Democrat party become it's true unmasked self which would be a democratic socialist party. I would prefer that the Republican party turn hard right and become the libertarian party, in fact. Republicans are more split in their ideology so about half the party would actually have to be offloaded to the Democrat party. Romney, McCain, Bush, Snow, etc. are all actually democrats in that they really believe in large government and central planning. They just believe in running it a bit better.

I want more polarization because I want a true conflict of ideas that forces America to choose not find some nice-nice middle ground which is always a compromise to the left. When the economic shit hits the fan then there would be a true contest of ideas and Americans could clearly choose a different course. That isn't happening currently.

Neethgie's picture

Not simply due to it's size, but the manner of which it was laid out made it very difficult to interpret and ascertain the points being made.

I also agree, with the premise that centrism is the worst of all worlds, in the uk our polititians realised that, some people like a few leftist idea's and a few right, so have lurched to the middle cherry picking ideas in order to win over the "floating voter"  safe in the knowledge that, there is no party further to the left or right respectively.

Hence we never get a truely right wing government, we never get a true battle ground of ideas , we just get new boss extremely similar to the old boss except on a few small irrelevant points.


however thanks to Nigel Farage, we now have a new right wing party, making some sweet moves in the polls, polling 3rd huge step.

this is exciting because we might be able to go back to the ideological battles that are supposed to define democracy rather than a muddled middleground.

Radical Marijuana's picture

Be careful what you wish for, because perhaps you may get it! If the current polarization trends continue far enough, then there will be some kind of insane civil war ... although nobody has a clue how to have a revolution inside of a country with an abundance of weapons of mass destruction.

FreedomGuy's picture

There may be something to what you say. I have playing with the theory that the only decent end game for libertarians like me is a civil, civil war. What I mean is let the country split into the collectivist parts and the libertarian or property oriented parts...peaceably. Walter Williams asks this very question.

I believe there are so many people who get benefits and checks from government that it cannot be reformed on the whole. By checks, I mean not just welfare and entitlements but farm subsidies, ethanol subsidies, Solyndra corrupt deals, union favors, Planned Parenthood funding, military-industiral, banker graft, etc., etc., etc. Taken together these interests are like a political gravitational black hole. There is no escape except implosion.

While it is a nice daydream, the fact is that statist-collectivists-socialists must always capture their productive populations. That is why the Berlin Wall and N. Korean DMZ is to keep people IN, not really out. So, if the country divided, the looters and unproductive would populate the collectivist states and the productive would flee in a NY minute to the libertarian-property rights states. The collectivists would collapse overnight. Therefore, they would resort immediately to force as their end would be obvious and quick.

I like the saying, "Socialism: Ideas so good they have to be mandatory."

Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

There will be a disruption, and most obese/SNAP people will perish. The rest of us will move on. I would wager that most Americans would die before they would eat one green vegetable. 

Eveverything's picture

I disagree that the Republicans would somehow more naturally transform into a libertarian party.  In fact, if you had Gary Johnson give a speech in which he lays out all of his ideas to an audience in a strongly blue state and an audience in a strongly red state, I think he would overall be more well received by the liberal audience.  

Did any of you guys watch the 3rd party debates?  Johnson and Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate who is meant to be on the far left, agreed with each other on most points.  Virgil Goode, who represented the right-wing Constitution Party was the outlier in that debate, and his platform represents the Republican base more than the Libertarian platform.

scatterbrains's picture

this graphic reminds me of how the .001% have maintained an almost perfect 50/50 between demoRats and republiTards.  As long as they can split the country near 50/50 then they can collect the vig via looting the treasury for personal gain.  If one side should become too powerful over the other then the risk is that one party could one day end up telling the fed thanks for buying all our paper assets now go take your private ass and go fuck yourself while we establish our own currency...  but that 50/50 is a perfect reflection of how well they steer the muppets via control of the media.. or at least prior to the internet, now thanks to blogs like ZH their monopolistic control will eventually be seriously  threatened.

FreedomGuy's picture

I understand what you are saying but I disagree. I believe that it is "the system" itself that produces the similar results between parties. There are various sorts of looters at all levels, but not an especially well organized shadowy conspiracy.

Radical Marijuana's picture

Yeah, that chart illustrates the record-breaking level of polarization in the House and the Senate!


The government of the USA has become based upon legalized lies, backed by legalized violence, on a SCALE that is headed towards psychotic breakdowns, since there is NOTHING within the established sytems which can fix those problems! This chart does not illustrate those groups who have stopped voting, which are almost the majority, since the system has become so terminally corrupt that there is barely any point in participating. This chart only shows how those who still bother to vote are diverging more and more from each other. Considering the number of people who express their opinions on Zero Hedge that the banksters are criminals, that should be executed, and the number of positive votes that those kinds of comments get, one would think that, IF one could graph out the full extent of that social polarization, it would take on astronomically sized proportions!

Certainly, from my point of view, every time I have ever investigated ANY issue in North American politics, I have ALWAYS discovered systems of runaway triumphant LIES, backed up with nothing but VIOLENCE, which was automatically getting worse! In my opinion, there is barely the slightest shred of truth or justice left in the operations of the government of the USA. There is NOTHING, but FRAUD, backed by FORCE, and there is NOTHING but that FORCE which keeps it going.

Furthermore, there is NO WAY to express that within the established political systems, since there is nobody to vote for that could make any difference to that real situation.

toomanyfakeconservatives's picture

No argument here. Polarized as could be thanks to the Golfer-in-Chief. Arrest them all and let the trials begin...

Dr. Gonzo's picture

"Fraud backed by force." That could be a campaign slogan by either candidate. 

virgilcaine's picture

Dysfunctional corrupt non representative form of illegal war mongering corporate owned bankster govment.  About sums it up for me.  Nov 6 I'll cast my ballot for more of the same i guess.

buzzsaw99's picture

The only thing the parties argue about is how best to fuck over the american public.

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

And which is the best mask to wear to DSK's parties.

fuu's picture

Looks cancerous.


hidingfromhelis's picture

...and it appears to be metastasizing.

virgilcaine's picture

U have to hold ur nose and balls at the same time while voting.. new procedure.

Cheesy Bastard's picture

Relax.  The TSA takes care of that procedure now.


S'okay - Congress don't know me either. " Taxation with mis representation - is a form of slavery "  Time for a change. Bitchez.

tlnzz's picture

"Out of chaos comes order, and out of order comes chaos". Full circle.

newengland's picture

Blah blah blah.

You own the land if you and your neighours live on it and defend it.

You own the water if you and your neighours make it clean and freely available.

It was the purpose of the Constitution to limit the power of centralised power, for that is where cynical powerbrokers concentrate their efforts to take most, and give least to the people who own the land, and pay for the paper pusher ne'er do wells in politics.

The old money power of foreign interests and the Trilateral Commission pay for the Presidential debates and bi-partisanship; the blue pill and the red pill.

The rats rising on the filthy incoming tide in Wall St have four legs or two legs. The latter is the most vicious, and their political pets in the tax thieving, grandstanding elephant and donkey parties.

Prepare to defend yourself, your neighbour, your State against the parvenus.

Smiddywesson's picture

Excuse me while I puke.  My law degree and my 40 years of politics didn't prepare me for how deeply entrenched the lack of choice is.  

Doom, I just feel powerless and doomed.  

Sites that deal with this can burden your soul.  So, time to hit the reset button.  Release your pathetic grip on the reality that has been offered to you and do something nice for those around you.  It doesn't change the reality of what is going on under the headlines, but it does make one feel better about oneself and the future.

Laugh if you must, but I came home today and told the wife how much I loved her.  Hey, she doesn't deserve the burned of this shit, even though the woman can sometimes be the embodiment of the Devil.  :-)

10mm's picture

Put it on my tab,im not gonna pay it.

Incubus's picture

You're a funny guy.  Who said you had any choice?

Al Huxley's picture

Nice to see XKCD getting some recognition and airtime here.

Burticus's picture

The political spectrum is from 100% or totalitarian gubmint (left) to 0% gubmint or anarchy (right).  Watch "Overview of America" on YouTube to fit the missing pieces into your puzzle.

All of our elephant & jackass sock puppets have been operating on the far to extreme left for years.  NONE of them are clamoring for anarchy or even limited gubmint, meaning gubmint limited to protecting individual rights (center), as our republic was intended.  NONE are on the right or even near the center, except maybe Ron Paul.

Stalin and Hitler were both on the extreme political left.  The bull$#!+ current left-right paradigm repeated by the lamescream corporate media cartel, and this article, is only meant to distract and divide.

TPTB now offer OBAMNEY as your choices of extreme/far left statists wearing jackass & elephant costumes.  Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party) and Virgil Goode (Constitution Party) are the only presidential candidates pulling right toward the center.

Cabreado's picture

Thank you, ZH.

Congress is defunct, and until a critical mass recognizes that simple fact and the danger thereof...

We are going down,

not just down, but to a place that will resemble hell.

Ignore the chaos, and pay attention to the simple that has been breached.

There are two ways out of this mess, regardless of your expectations.
One is an Appropriately self-guided Congress, the other is unspeakable...

ultraticum's picture

Where's the line for Ron Paul?  I guess they can only show deuche bags like like Ryan and Gingrich.

How about doing a chart on relative adherence to the constitution?

nah's picture

or a chart according to my balls

Likstane's picture

Do you have a red one and a blue one? 

Theosebes Goodfellow's picture

Well, actually I have three. One of each!

newengland's picture

Perhaps Hurricane Sandy did a good thing by hastening the exposure of two-faced politicians in NYC, DC and New Jersey in particular. How will their politicians explain that they took the taxpayer money to buy votes and pay off substandard contractors for decades instead of maintain important infrastructure?

There is no more money. Zilch. Gone. The parrot is deceased, dead.

So is the gold, by the way. 

This is the 21st century, a coming of age, time to grow up, and stop whining for Big Brother and Nanny State.

viator's picture

In this infographic President (from each according to their abilities, to each according to his need) Obama is characterized as center left.