The theory is this: That you can array on a line, which represents the major policy area, from liberal to conservative, all the members of Congress. On each line there will be a variety of pivotal voters – those at which point there can be no conservative filibuster/one will be supported, and the same for the liberal side. There is also a pivotal voter at the point at which the presidential veto will be supported/overturned. Also on this line. You can place the current policy and the desired policy. If you are in the gridlock area between the filibuster and the veto, then no change can be made.
Does this theory help explain recent votes in Congress such as the SCHIP vote? Why or why not?
What does this theory mean for future votes such as the environmental legislation in Congress? Is it possible that the conservative California Senators and Representatives will be pivotal voters?
The theory also takes into account personal preferences, uncertainty and extraneous factors when placing members on the line between liberal and conservative. Is there anything this theory does not take into account? How would this theory account for natural disasters or states of emergency?
The theory argues that it is only important to place members of congress along the main policy line, and that you can ignore other policies where vote-trading might be done, because those are independent policy lines. What would happen to this theory if a bill had riders which made the bill include two completely separate policy areas? Does this theory still work to explain policy gridlock then?