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Which Senators And Representatives Vote In Favor Of Democracy?

EMILY SCHERER / GETTY IMAGES

There is a growing strain of illiberalism both within the Republican Party and among Republican voters. But what does that illiberalism actually look like among elected members in Congress?

Quantifying politicians’ commitments to upholding democracy isn’t easy. Even defining “democracy” is complicatedscholars disagree on its exact definition — let alone trying to establish how closely politicians or parties adhere to democratic principles. There’s no ongoing survey of how strongly elected members of Congress believe in democratic principles, for instance, and it’s not clear what such a survey would even tell us, given that politicians (and their staffers) are often masters at spin. But just like aggregating politicians’ votes can tell us something about where they fall ideologically on economic or social policies, one thing we can do is look at how members of Congress vote when issues of democracy are brought to the floor. 

Of course, the catch here is that matters of democracy are rarely brought for a floor vote. “Most aspects of democracy are not up for debate in Congress in any given year,” said Michael Coppedge, a political scientist at the University of Notre Dame and one of the principal investigators at Varieties of Democracy. That’s an important caveat because the comprehensiveness of such a metric is limited by what Congress actually votes on. “There’s a lot that’s taken for granted that’s essential to what democracy is,” Coppedge said. “Instead, what we get our votes on [are] skirmishes on the periphery of what democracy means.”

One more complication is that there is no single agreed-upon list of what are (or aren’t) issues of democracy. Never mind what the more-democratic position is on each issue. 


Republicans can govern without winning a majority. That threatens our democracy.

Bearing all of that in mind, I’ve built two different metrics to help us understand a legislator’s stance on democracy. First is a minimalist definition of democracy, limited to basic requirements like free and, in theory, fair elections and other measures that help safeguard democracy. Second is a more expansive definition, which contains everything in the first category, but also includes bills that expand civil liberties and who has political power. That way, we can see where politicians converge on these two metrics — and where they differ.

First, the most bare-bones definition: “issues of electoral democracy.” Included in this definition are the most basic requirements of any functioning democracy, like free elections and freedom of the press. And while most of these issues typically don’t come up for congressional votes, some did this year — most notably, the counting of electoral votes from Pennsylvania and Arizona in the 2020 election, usually a ceremonial event that this year faced objections from members of Congress and coincided with the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. Four other types of bills fall into this category: a bill that would have set up an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack;1 when that failed to pass the Senate, a bill to create a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol;2 a bill to increase the independence of government oversight of the executive branch;3 and the second bill to impeach former President Donald Trump,4 as he was charged with inciting “an insurrection against the government of the United States.” We realize that bill was more political than the others in this category — and we did debate whether to include it — but ultimately we decided that being too political wasn’t a good reason for exclusion, especially as the bill did deal with a core democratic principle: the peaceful transfer of power in America’s elections. (For what it’s worth, including this vote did not meaningfully change the results.)

An elephant and a donkey playing tennis on top of a leaning tower of books so the elephant has the higher ground in the illustration. The book titles read “Supreme Court,” “State Legislatures,” “Electoral College,” “Senate,” and “House of Representatives.”

related: Advantage, GOP Read more. »

How politicians vote on these issues doesn’t just reflect the extent to which they back President Biden’s policies, which FiveThirtyEight tracks via its Biden Score metric. Though party lines are important here, this stripped-down metric of democracy still shows substantial variation — particularly among Republicans.5 On the other hand, Democrats are mostly clustered together in the upper-right hand corner.

Take Republican Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Bill Cassidy, Mitt Romney and Ben Sasse. All five of them opposed the objections to counting electoral votes in both Pennsylvania and Arizona and supported the National Commission to investigate Jan. 6 — all three of the pro-democracy bills the Senate voted on in this category, even though they differ quite a bit in the extent to which they support Biden’s agenda. Similarly, in the House, Republican Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, Tom Reed, John Katko, Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney all voted largely in favor of the pro-democracy measures in front of the House, even though Cheney rarely votes with Biden otherwise.

On the other end of the spectrum, you can see which representatives have voted against both Biden and the bare-bones pro-democracy measures Congress has taken up. For instance, Sens. Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Tommy Tuberville, Roger Marshall and Cindy Hyde-Smith have all voted against the democratic position every single time, even though Hyde-Smith tends to vote with Biden markedly more than the others.

A wide shot of the House of Representatives. A small number of the seats are filled.

related: How The House Got Stuck At 435 Seats Read more. »

But this bare-bones metric is, of course, a fairly narrow definition of what it means to live in a democracy, which is why I created a second metric that also includes bills that try to create a more expansive and inclusive democracy. Using legislative scorecards from organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union, the government watchdog group Common Cause and the nonprofit research organization Vote Smart, I looked at all of the other bills that Congress brought to the floor this year that could also be considered key to a functioning democracy, in addition to the ones I’ve already mentioned.6 Bills that fall into this second category include:

Interestingly, the overall picture doesn’t change that much when you look at this fuller set of bills — although partisan differences are somewhat starker. While the bare-bones metric had a few Republicans on par with Democrats, this is no longer the case: There are no Republicans who are more supportive than Democrats of the more expansive definition of democracy.

In the Senate, it’s still Collins, Murkowski, Romney, Sasse, and Cassidy that lead Republicans on this metric — supporting almost all of the bills that fall in this second metric. The notable exception is the For the People Act, which no Senate Republican voted in favor of. Meanwhile, we saw more movement in the House, which voted on more “small-d” democratic bills and whose democracy score increasingly correlated with the Biden score. However, there were still some Republicans who supported a majority of these more expansive democratic positions, such as Fitzpatrick, Reed, Katko and Kinzinger, even though most of them vote with Biden less than half of the time. Cheney, however, fell on this more expansive metric in large part because she didn’t support legislation like a bill to prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity, the For the People Act and the Washington, D.C. Admission Act.

And this brings us to an important point. As this more expansive definition of democracy shows, many of these issues have become polarized by party. That can make it hard to disentangle anti-democratic politics from partisan politics, according to Gretchen Helmke, a professor at the University of Rochester and one of the founders of Bright Line Watch, a group of political scientists that monitors democracy and threats to it. H.R. 1, the For The People Act, is an instructive example: Democrats have pushed this bill as small-d democratic because it makes it easier for people to exercise their right to vote, but they also first introduced it in 2019 as a statement of what the party stood for, when it had no chance of passing a Republican-controlled Senate and White House. So have Republicans voted against this bill as part of a stance against voting rights, or have they opposed it because they worry it delivers Democrats a sweeping legislative victory? There is no one answer here. In nearly every bill we looked at in the fuller metric, it was very hard to separate the politics from the policy.

Of course, this metric is not based on a random subset of possible issues. Democrats, who currently control both houses of Congress, might be strategic in what they choose to move forward, political scientist Jake Grumbach noted. Grumbach, a professor of political science at the University of Washington and the author of a recent paper tracking the state of liberal democracy at the state level, cautioned that Democrats might want to avoid difficult decisions for their members by introducing bills that could divide the party, leading them to keep bills off the floor on which the party doesn’t agree — a form of selection bias that plagues all studies of congressional voting behavior.8 We should therefore be careful about drawing any conclusions about the liberal and illiberal tendencies of the elected officials in our sample. But to see where your representative or senators fall, check out the full set of scores for all legislators on this metric in the table below:

Does your representative support democracy?

Pro-democracy percentage for each legislator in the House and Senate, based on six votes (“bare-bones” definition) or 18 votes (“more expansive” definition)

pro-democracy percentage
chamber legislator party bare-bones more expansive
House Alma Adams Dem. 100.0% 100.0%
House Pete Aguilar Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Colin Allred Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Jake Auchincloss Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Cindy Axne Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Nanette Diaz Barragán Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Karen Bass Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Joyce Beatty Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Ami Bera Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Don Beyer Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Sanford D. Bishop Jr. Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Earl Blumenauer Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Lisa Blunt Rochester Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Suzanne Bonamici Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Carolyn Bourdeaux Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Jamaal Bowman Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Brendan Boyle Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Anthony Brown Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Julia Brownley Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Cori Bush Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Cheri Bustos Dem. 100.0 100.0
House G.K. Butterfield Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Salud Carbajal Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Tony Cárdenas Dem. 100.0 100.0
House André Carson Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Troy A. Carter Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Matt Cartwright Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Ed Case Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Sean Casten Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Joaquin Castro Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Judy Chu Dem. 100.0 100.0
House David Cicilline Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Katherine Clark Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Yvette D. Clarke Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Emanuel Cleaver Dem. 100.0 100.0
House James E. Clyburn Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Steve Cohen Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Gerald E. Connolly Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Jim Cooper Dem. 100.0 100.0
House J. Luis Correa Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Joe Courtney Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Angie Craig Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Charlie Crist Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Jason Crow Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Henry Cuellar Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Sharice Davids Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Danny K. Davis Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Madeleine Dean Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Peter DeFazio Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Diana DeGette Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Rosa L. DeLauro Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Suzan DelBene Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Antonio Delgado Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Val Demings Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Mark DeSaulnier Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Ted Deutch Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Debbie Dingell Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Mike Doyle Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Veronica Escobar Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Anna G. Eshoo Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Adriano Espaillat Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Dwight Evans Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Lizzie Pannill Fletcher Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Bill Foster Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Lois Frankel Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Ruben Gallego Dem. 100.0 100.0
House John Garamendi Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Jesús “Chuy” García Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Sylvia R. Garcia Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Jimmy Gomez Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Vicente Gonzalez Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Josh Gottheimer Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Al Green Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Raúl Grijalva Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Josh Harder Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Jahana Hayes Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Brian Higgins Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Jim Himes Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Steven A. Horsford Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Chrissy Houlahan Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Steny H. Hoyer Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Jared Huffman Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Sheila Jackson Lee Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Sara Jacobs Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Pramila Jayapal Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Hakeem Jeffries Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Eddie Bernice Johnson Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Hank Johnson Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Mondaire Jones Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Kaiali’i Kahele Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Marcy Kaptur Dem. 100.0 100.0
House William Keating Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Ro Khanna Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Daniel Kildee Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Derek Kilmer Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Andy Kim Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Ann Kirkpatrick Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Raja Krishnamoorthi Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Ann Kuster Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Conor Lamb Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Jim Langevin Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Rick Larsen Dem. 100.0 100.0
House John B. Larson Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Brenda Lawrence Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Al Lawson Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Barbara Lee Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Susie Lee Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Teresa Leger Fernandez Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Andy Levin Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Mike Levin Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Ted Lieu Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Zoe Lofgren Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Alan Lowenthal Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Elaine Luria Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Stephen F. Lynch Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Tom Malinowski Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Carolyn Maloney Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Kathy E. Manning Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Doris O. Matsui Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Lucy McBath Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Betty McCollum Dem. 100.0 100.0
House A. Donald McEachin Dem. 100.0 100.0
House James McGovern Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Jerry McNerney Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Gregory W. Meeks Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Grace Meng Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Kweisi Mfume Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Gwen Moore Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Joseph D. Morelle Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Seth Moulton Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Frank J. Mrvan Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Jerrold Nadler Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Grace Napolitano Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Richard E. Neal Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Joe Neguse Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Marie Newman Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Donald Norcross Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Tom O’Halleran Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Ilhan Omar Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Frank Pallone Jr. Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Jimmy Panetta Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Chris Pappas Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Bill Pascrell Jr. Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Donald Payne Jr. Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Nancy Pelosi Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Ed Perlmutter Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Scott Peters Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Dean Phillips Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Chellie Pingree Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Mark Pocan Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Katie Porter Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Ayanna Pressley Dem. 100.0 100.0
House David Price Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Mike Quigley Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Jamie Raskin Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Kathleen Rice Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Deborah K. Ross Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Lucille Roybal-Allard Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Raul Ruiz Dem. 100.0 100.0
House C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Bobby L. Rush Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Tim Ryan Dem. 100.0 100.0
House John P. Sarbanes Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Mary Gay Scanlon Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Jan Schakowsky Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Adam Schiff Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Bradley Schneider Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Kurt Schrader Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Kim Schrier Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Robert C. Scott Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Terri A. Sewell Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Brad Sherman Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Mikie Sherrill Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Albio Sires Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Elissa Slotkin Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Adam Smith Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Darren Soto Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Abigail Spanberger Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Jackie Speier Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Melanie A. Stansbury Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Greg Stanton Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Haley Stevens Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Marilyn Strickland Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Thomas Suozzi Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Eric Swalwell Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Mike Thompson Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Dina Titus Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Paul D. Tonko Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Norma Torres Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Ritchie Torres Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Lori Trahan Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Lauren Underwood Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Juan Vargas Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Marc Veasey Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Filemon Vela Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Nydia M. Velázquez Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Debbie Wasserman Schultz Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Maxine Waters Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Bonnie Watson Coleman Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Peter Welch Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Jennifer Wexton Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Susan Wild Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Nikema Williams Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Frederica Wilson Dem. 100.0 100.0
House John A. Yarmuth Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Tammy Baldwin Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Michael F. Bennet Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Richard Blumenthal Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Cory A. Booker Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Sherrod Brown Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Maria Cantwell Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Benjamin L. Cardin Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Thomas R. Carper Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Robert P. Casey Jr. Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Christopher A. Coons Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Catherine Cortez Masto Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Tammy Duckworth Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Richard J. Durbin Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Dianne Feinstein Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Kirsten E. Gillibrand Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Margaret Wood Hassan Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Martin Heinrich Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate John W. Hickenlooper Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Mazie K. Hirono Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Tim Kaine Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Mark Kelly Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Angus S. King Jr. Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Patrick J. Leahy Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Ben R. Luján Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Joe Manchin Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Edward J. Markey Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Robert Menendez Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Jeff Merkley Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Christopher Murphy Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Jon Ossoff Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Alex Padilla Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Gary C. Peters Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Jack Reed Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Jacky Rosen Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Bernie Sanders Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Brian Schatz Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Charles E. Schumer Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Jeanne Shaheen Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Debbie Stabenow Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Jon Tester Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Chris Van Hollen Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Mark R. Warner Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Raphael G. Warnock Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Elizabeth Warren Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Sheldon Whitehouse Dem. 100.0 100.0
Senate Ron Wyden Dem. 100.0 100.0
House Kathy Castor Dem. 100.0 97.4
House Jim Costa Dem. 100.0 97.4
House Lloyd Doggett Dem. 91.7 97.4
House Robin Kelly Dem. 91.7 97.4
House Sean Patrick Maloney Dem. 100.0 97.4
House Stephanie Murphy Dem. 100.0 97.4
House Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Dem. 100.0 97.4
House Linda Sánchez Dem. 100.0 97.4
House David Scott Dem. 91.7 97.4
House Mark Takano Dem. 100.0 97.4
House David Trone Dem. 91.7 97.4
House Ron Kind Dem. 100.0 94.7
House Bennie G. Thompson Dem. 100.0 94.7
Senate Amy Klobuchar Dem. 100.0 92.9
Senate Patty Murray Dem. 87.5 92.9
Senate Kyrsten Sinema Dem. 87.5 92.9
Senate Tina Smith Dem. 100.0 92.9
House Rashida Tlaib Dem. 83.3 92.1
House Jared Golden Dem. 91.7 86.8
Senate Bill Cassidy Rep. 100.0 71.4
Senate Susan Collins Rep. 100.0 71.4
Senate Lisa Murkowski Rep. 100.0 71.4
Senate Mitt Romney Rep. 100.0 71.4
Senate Ben Sasse Rep. 100.0 71.4
House Brian Fitzpatrick Rep. 66.7 68.4
Senate Richard Burr Rep. 87.5 64.3
Senate Patrick J. Toomey Rep. 87.5 64.3
House John Katko Rep. 83.3 57.9
House Adam Kinzinger Rep. 83.3 57.9
House Tom Reed Rep. 66.7 57.9
Senate Rob Portman Rep. 75.0 57.1
Senate Mike Rounds Rep. 62.5 57.1
House Fred Upton Rep. 66.7 52.6
Senate Roy Blunt Rep. 62.5 50.0
Senate Mike Braun Rep. 62.5 50.0
Senate James M. Inhofe Rep. 62.5 50.0
Senate James E. Risch Rep. 62.5 50.0
Senate Richard C. Shelby Rep. 62.5 50.0
House Don Bacon Rep. 50.0 47.4
House Jaime Herrera Beutler Rep. 66.7 47.4
House Chris Smith Rep. 50.0 47.4
Senate John Barrasso Rep. 50.0 42.9
Senate Marsha Blackburn Rep. 62.5 42.9
Senate John Boozman Rep. 50.0 42.9
Senate Shelley Moore Capito Rep. 50.0 42.9
Senate John Cornyn Rep. 50.0 42.9
Senate Tom Cotton Rep. 50.0 42.9
Senate Kevin Cramer Rep. 50.0 42.9
Senate Mike Crapo Rep. 50.0 42.9
Senate Steve Daines Rep. 50.0 42.9
Senate Joni Ernst Rep. 50.0 42.9
Senate Deb Fischer Rep. 50.0 42.9
Senate Lindsey Graham Rep. 50.0 42.9
Senate Chuck Grassley Rep. 50.0 42.9
Senate Bill Hagerty Rep. 50.0 42.9
Senate John Hoeven Rep. 50.0 42.9
Senate Ron Johnson Rep. 50.0 42.9
Senate James Lankford Rep. 50.0 42.9
Senate Mitch McConnell Rep. 50.0 42.9
Senate Jerry Moran Rep. 50.0 42.9
Senate Marco Rubio Rep. 50.0 42.9
Senate Tim Scott Rep. 50.0 42.9
Senate Dan Sullivan Rep. 50.0 42.9
Senate John Thune Rep. 50.0 42.9
Senate Thom Tillis Rep. 50.0 42.9
Senate Roger F. Wicker Rep. 50.0 42.9
Senate Todd Young Rep. 50.0 42.9
House Liz Cheney Rep. 83.3 42.1
House Jeff Fortenberry Rep. 50.0 42.1
House Andrew R. Garbarino Rep. 50.0 42.1
House Tony Gonzales Rep. 50.0 42.1
House Anthony Gonzalez Rep. 66.7 42.1
House Trey Hollingsworth Rep. 50.0 42.1
House Peter Meijer Rep. 66.7 42.1
House Dan Newhouse Rep. 66.7 42.1
House David G. Valadao Rep. 50.0 41.2
House David Joyce Rep. 41.7 39.5
House Don Young Rep. 33.3 39.5
House Troy Balderson Rep. 33.3 36.8
House John R. Curtis Rep. 50.0 36.8
House Rodney Davis Rep. 50.0 36.8
House Carlos A. Gimenez Rep. 16.7 36.8
House French Hill Rep. 50.0 36.8
House Ashley Hinson Rep. 33.3 36.8
House Michael T. McCaul Rep. 33.3 36.8
House Blake D. Moore Rep. 50.0 36.8
House Pete Stauber Rep. 33.3 36.8
House Ann Wagner Rep. 33.3 36.8
Senate Mike Lee Rep. 50.0 35.7
Senate Rand Paul Rep. 50.0 35.7
House María Elvira Salazar Rep. 25.0 35.3
House Young Kim Rep. 25.0 34.2
House Mike Simpson Rep. 50.0 34.2
House Mark Amodei Rep. 33.3 31.6
House Cliff Bentz Rep. 33.3 31.6
House Gus M. Bilirakis Rep. 16.7 31.6
House Mario Diaz-Balart Rep. 0.0 31.6
House Tom Emmer Rep. 33.3 31.6
House Mike Gallagher Rep. 41.7 31.6
House Brett S. Guthrie Rep. 33.3 31.6
House Bill Huizenga Rep. 33.3 31.6
House Dusty Johnson Rep. 50.0 31.6
House Robert E. Latta Rep. 33.3 31.6
House David McKinley Rep. 50.0 31.6
House Mariannette Miller-Meeks Rep. 50.0 31.6
House John Moolenaar Rep. 33.3 31.6
House Victoria Spartz Rep. 33.3 31.6
House Bryan Steil Rep. 33.3 31.6
House Van Taylor Rep. 50.0 31.6
House Michael Turner Rep. 33.3 31.6
House Brad Wenstrup Rep. 33.3 31.6
House Steve Womack Rep. 50.0 31.6
House Vern Buchanan Rep. 33.3 28.9
House Dan Crenshaw Rep. 33.3 28.9
House Gregory F. Murphy Rep. 25.0 28.9
Senate John Kennedy Rep. 25.0 28.6
Senate Cynthia M. Lummis Rep. 25.0 28.6
Senate Rick Scott Rep. 25.0 28.6
House Larry Bucshon Rep. 33.3 26.3
House Steve Chabot Rep. 16.7 26.3
House James Comer Rep. 33.3 26.3
House Randy Feenstra Rep. 33.3 26.3
House A. Drew Ferguson Rep. 33.3 26.3
House Glenn Grothman Rep. 33.3 26.3
House Chris Jacobs Rep. 16.7 26.3
House Nicole Malliotakis Rep. 0.0 26.3
House Cathy McMorris Rodgers Rep. 33.3 26.3
House David Schweikert Rep. 16.7 26.3
House Chris Stewart Rep. 16.7 26.3
House Jeff Van Drew Rep. 0.0 26.3
House Michael Waltz Rep. 33.3 26.3
House Kay Granger Rep. 25.0 23.7
House Darrell E. Issa Rep. 16.7 23.7
House Roger Williams Rep. 16.7 23.7
House Kelly Armstrong Rep. 33.3 21.1
House Andy Barr Rep. 33.3 21.1
House Stephanie I. Bice Rep. 16.7 21.1
House Mike Bost Rep. 0.0 21.1
House Kevin Brady Rep. 16.7 21.1
House Michael Burgess Rep. 0.0 21.1
House Ken Calvert Rep. 0.0 21.1
House Russ Fulcher Rep. 16.7 21.1
House Mike Garcia Rep. 0.0 21.1
House Garret Graves Rep. 16.7 21.1
House Richard Hudson Rep. 0.0 21.1
House Bill Johnson Rep. 0.0 21.1
House David Kustoff Rep. 16.7 21.1
House Darin LaHood Rep. 33.3 21.1
House Nancy Mace Rep. 33.3 21.1
House Kevin McCarthy Rep. 0.0 21.1
House Burgess Owens Rep. 16.7 21.1
House Steve Scalise Rep. 0.0 21.1
House Austin Scott Rep. 33.3 21.1
House Lloyd Smucker Rep. 16.7 21.1
House Michelle Steel Rep. 16.7 21.1
House Elise Stefanik Rep. 16.7 21.1
House Daniel Webster Rep. 16.7 21.1
House Bruce Westerman Rep. 33.3 21.1
House Joe Wilson Rep. 0.0 21.1
House Robert J. Wittman Rep. 16.7 21.1
House Claudia Tenney Rep. 0.0 18.8
House Ken Buck Rep. 25.0 18.4
House Bob Gibbs Rep. 0.0 18.4
House Patrick T. McHenry Rep. 33.3 18.4
House Dan Meuser Rep. 16.7 18.4
House Greg Pence Rep. 16.7 18.4
House Chip Roy Rep. 50.0 18.4
House Glenn W. Thompson Rep. 16.7 18.4
House Tim Walberg Rep. 8.3 18.4
House Julia Letlow Rep. 0.0 18.2
House Jack Bergman Rep. 0.0 15.8
House Buddy Carter Rep. 16.7 15.8
House Michelle Fischbach Rep. 0.0 15.8
House Chuck Fleischmann Rep. 0.0 15.8
House Virginia Foxx Rep. 16.7 15.8
House Louie Gohmert Rep. 16.7 15.8
House Michael Guest Rep. 25.0 15.8
House Jim Hagedorn Rep. 0.0 15.8
House Fred Keller Rep. 16.7 15.8
House Mike Kelly Rep. 0.0 15.8
House Debbie Lesko Rep. 0.0 15.8
House Billy Long Rep. 8.3 15.8
House Frank Lucas Rep. 0.0 15.8
House Brian Mast Rep. 0.0 15.8
House Mary E. Miller Rep. 16.7 15.8
House Alex Mooney Rep. 16.7 15.8
House Markwayne Mullin Rep. 0.0 15.8
House Devin Nunes Rep. 0.0 15.8
House Jay Obernolte Rep. 0.0 15.8
House Guy Reschenthaler Rep. 0.0 15.8
House Tom Rice Rep. 33.3 15.8
House Harold Rogers Rep. 0.0 15.8
House Adrian Smith Rep. 0.0 15.8
House Jason Smith Rep. 0.0 15.8
House Beth Van Duyne Rep. 16.7 15.8
House Jackie Walorski Rep. 0.0 15.8
House Lee Zeldin Rep. 0.0 15.8
Senate Ted Cruz Rep. 0.0 14.3
Senate Cindy Hyde-Smith Rep. 0.0 14.3
Senate Roger Marshall Rep. 0.0 14.3
Senate Tommy Tuberville Rep. 0.0 14.3
House Jodey Arrington Rep. 16.7 13.2
House Jim Banks Rep. 16.7 13.2
House Michael Cloud Rep. 16.7 13.2
House Ron Estes Rep. 0.0 13.2
House Bob Good Rep. 16.7 13.2
House Morgan Griffith Rep. 0.0 13.2
House Vicky Hartzler Rep. 0.0 13.2
House Yvette Herrell Rep. 16.7 13.2
House Clay Higgins Rep. 16.7 13.2
House Mike Johnson Rep. 16.7 13.2
House Jake LaTurner Rep. 8.3 13.2
House August Pfluger Rep. 16.7 13.2
House John Rose Rep. 16.7 13.2
House Thomas P. Tiffany Rep. 16.7 13.2
House Randy Weber Rep. 16.7 13.2
House Jim Baird Rep. 0.0 10.5
House John Carter Rep. 0.0 10.5
House Ben Cline Rep. 0.0 10.5
House Tom Cole Rep. 0.0 10.5
House Rick Crawford Rep. 0.0 10.5
House Warren Davidson Rep. 0.0 10.5
House Neal Dunn Rep. 0.0 10.5
House Pat Fallon Rep. 0.0 10.5
House Scott Fitzgerald Rep. 0.0 10.5
House C. Scott Franklin Rep. 0.0 10.5
House Matt Gaetz Rep. 0.0 10.5
House Lance Gooden Rep. 0.0 10.5
House Sam Graves Rep. 0.0 10.5
House Jody Hice Rep. 8.3 10.5
House John Joyce Rep. 0.0 10.5
House Doug Lamborn Rep. 0.0 10.5
House Blaine Luetkemeyer Rep. 0.0 10.5
House Thomas Massie Rep. 33.3 10.5
House Lisa C. McClain Rep. 0.0 10.5
House Tom McClintock Rep. 33.3 10.5
House Carol Miller Rep. 0.0 10.5
House Barry Moore Rep. 8.3 10.5
House Troy E. Nehls Rep. 0.0 10.5
House Bill Posey Rep. 0.0 10.5
House John Rutherford Rep. 0.0 10.5
House Pete Sessions Rep. 0.0 10.5
House William Timmons Rep. 0.0 10.5
House Brian Babin Rep. 0.0 7.9
House Lauren Boebert Rep. 0.0 7.9
House Tim Burchett Rep. 0.0 7.9
House Scott DesJarlais Rep. 8.3 7.9
House Andy Harris Rep. 8.3 7.9
House Ronny Jackson Rep. 16.7 7.9
House Trent Kelly Rep. 0.0 7.9
House Robert B. Aderholt Rep. 0.0 5.3
House Rick Allen Rep. 0.0 5.3
House Dan Bishop Rep. 0.0 5.3
House Ted Budd Rep. 0.0 5.3
House Kat Cammack Rep. 0.0 5.3
House Jerry L. Carl Rep. 0.0 5.3
House Madison Cawthorn Rep. 0.0 5.3
House Andrew S. Clyde Rep. 0.0 5.3
House Byron Donalds Rep. 0.0 5.3
House Jeff Duncan Rep. 0.0 5.3
House Mark E. Green Rep. 0.0 5.3
House Marjorie Taylor Greene Rep. 0.0 5.3
House Diana Harshbarger Rep. 0.0 5.3
House Kevin Hern Rep. 0.0 5.3
House Jim Jordan Rep. 0.0 5.3
House Doug LaMalfa Rep. 0.0 5.3
House Barry Loudermilk Rep. 0.0 5.3
House Tracey Mann Rep. 0.0 5.3
House Steven Palazzo Rep. 0.0 5.3
House Gary Palmer Rep. 0.0 5.3
House Scott Perry Rep. 0.0 5.3
House Mike Rogers Rep. 0.0 5.3
House David Rouzer Rep. 0.0 5.3
House Greg Steube Rep. 0.0 5.3
House Andy Biggs Rep. 0.0 2.6
House Mo Brooks Rep. 0.0 0.0
House Paul A. Gosar Rep. 0.0 0.0
House Ralph Norman Rep. 0.0 0.0
House Matthew M. Rosendale Rep. 0.0 0.0
Senate Josh Hawley Rep. 0.0 0.0

Legislators of the 117th Congress who died, left or joined after July 1st are not included. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Angus King are independents who caucus with the Democrats.

The “bare-bones” definition includes voting on the counting of electoral votes in Pennsylvania and Arizona; a bill that would have set up an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack (H.R. 3233); a bill to create a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack (House Res. 503); a bill to increase the independence of government oversight of the executive branch (H.R. 2662); and the second bill to impeach former President Donald Trump (House Res. 24).

The “more expansive” definition includes all “bare-bones” votes plus bills aimed at expanding civil liberties, bills aimed at expanding political power and voting rights and bills that address the legacy of slavery in the U.S.

Sources: VOTEVIEW, ACLU, COMMON CAUSE, VOTESMART

At this point, the core of democracy in the U.S. is not up for debate. “We’re fighting battles today over certain aspects of the democratic process, but not the core of it, for the most part,” Coppedge told me. But the fact that questions of democracy have become so clearly partisan is not good for the future of democracy. And given just how politically divided that fight has already become, it’s more important than ever to track how Congress votes on the matters of democracy that do make it to the floor.

Graphics by Ryan Best and Anna Wiederkehr.


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Footnotes

  1. H.R. 3233.

  2. House Res. 503.

  3. H.R. 2662.

  4. House Res. 24.

  5. We constructed our metric by taking the number of bills on which each politician supported the democratic position, divided by the total number of democracy bills they voted on. A present vote or abstention was treated as half a vote (that is, neither pro- nor anti-democratic), except for the Speaker. To make sure the equal weighting of votes in this percentage metric wasn’t skewing results, we also conducted a slightly more sophisticated dimensionality-reduction technique called principal component analysis, but since those results were very similar to our more simple percentage-based metric, we’re sticking to the simpler metric for clarity.

  6. For Vote Smart, I used votes that fell in their “Constitution” and “Civil Liberties and Civil Rights” categories. For Common Cause, I included votes that will be included in their next Democracy Scorecard (which were supplied to me via email).

  7. Here’s the full list of bills included:
    Senate: Objections to counting electoral votes in Pennsylvania and Arizona; National Commission to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol Complex Act (H.R. 3233); On the Motion “Is Former President Donald John Trump Subject to a Court of Impeachment for Acts Committed While President?”; Impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors (House Res. 24); Cloture vote on the motion to proceed to the For The People Act (S-2093); On the Motion to discharge the For The People Act (S-1) from the Senate Rules Committee; COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act (S-937).

    House: Objection to counting electoral votes in Pennsylvania and Arizona; National Commission to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol Complex Act (H.R. 3233); Establishing The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol (House Res. 503); Impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors (House Res. 24); For The People Act (H.R. 1); John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4); IG Independence and Empowerment Act (H.R. 2662); Washington, D.C, Admission Act (H.R. 51); George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (H.R. 1280); NO BAN Act (H.R. 1333); American Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6); Equality Act (H.R. 5); Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.R. 1065); Juneteenth National Independence Day Act (S-475); To direct the Joint Committee on the Library to replace the bust of Roger Brooke Taney in the Old Supreme Court Chamber of the United States Capitol with a bust of Thurgood Marshall to be obtained by the Joint Committee on the Library and to remove certain statues from areas of the United States Capitol which are accessible to the public, to remove all statues of individuals who voluntarily served the Confederate States of America from display in the United States Capitol, and for other purposes (H.R. 3005); Removing the deadline for the ratification of the equal rights amendment (House Joint Res. 17); COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act (S-937; Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act of 2021 (H.R. 2062).

    And aside from including more votes, the fuller metric was constructed exactly like the bare-bones metric above.

  8. For example, Joe Manchin, the most conservative Democratic senator, has a Biden score of 100 percent, meaning he votes with the president on every bill. This is not because he agrees with the rest of his party on everything, but because, in a 50-50 Senate, Manchin’s vote is crucial to any Democratic bill passing — meaning that the Democratic leadership doesn’t even bring bills to the floor if he has signaled that he won’t support them. More generally, if a party has perfect information about its members’ preferences, it can avoid losing a single congressional vote, since it will never bring votes to the floor on which it doesn’t have majority support.

Laura Bronner is a senior applied scientist at ETH Zürich and FiveThirtyEight’s former quantitative editor.

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