De-polarization of the House of Representatives?

In updating some graphs today, I discovered something interesting (but not entirely unexpected). The House of Representatives appears to be de-polarizing.

Why? COVID-19 stimulus bills, “ends-against-the-middle” voting (one, two), something else?

Of course, it’s also possible that this is just a blip.

The graphs begin in 1856-7, which is the first session with both Republicans and Democrats in the House (data). Here is the usual plot, based on distances between the party medians:

And here is another with distances between the party means:

Thanks to Dr. Jennie Sweet-Cushman for the prod.

Why America has only two parties

My explanation is not institutionalist.

Why does America have only two parties? We usually hear it’s because of the voting system. Proportional representation (PR) causes more than two parties. And until the United States has proportional representation, you’d better not vote for third parties!

Not so much.

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