28 August 2020

Highlights From The Last Twenty Years Of Political Theory

I would suggest as examples of the most notable developments in political theory in the last twenty years, the points below, in two broad categories and no particular order. 
To be clear, I am not endorsing any of these articles as correct. I am simply summarizing the state of new developments in academic discussion in the field in the last twenty years so that others are aware of them.

National scale success, conflict and war

  • In the wake of 9-11 there has been lots of serious and academic analysis of the nature and causes of terrorism. The modern trend is to view it as a form of asymmetric warfare and to recognize that most terrorists see themselves as patriots and heroes rather than being amoral monsters. See Kenneth M. Pollack; A Path Out of the Desert: A Grand Strategy for America in the Middle East; Random House; New York: 2008; pp. 173 and 175; Mohammed M. Hafez; Suicide Bombers In Iraq: The Strategy and Ideology of Martyrdom; United States Institute of Peace Press; Washington D.C.: 2007; p. 8. There has also been acknowledgment that while there are instances of both left wing and right wing terrorism, that terrorism is much more strongly associated with conservatism and that terrorist are often oriented towards thinking about things while having weak social skills (e.g. engineers are much more likely to become terrorists than literature majors).
  • There has also been serious attention to anti-terrorism tactics that are perceived as "tough" on terrorism but are not actually effective at stopping it. One such case is the literature showing that "harsh interrogation tactics" and torture don't work nearly as well as tactics oriented toward getting people to let their guard down (like taking a mass shooting suspect for a sandwich at Burger King to encourage him to confess). Another case in point is the much wider recognition of the notion of "Security Theater" which creates the perception of doing something by inconveniencing lots of people even though it isn't very effective (like removing shoes in airport inspection lines). See "Against Security" by Harvey Molotch. See also Robert M. Chesney (University of Texas School of Law) "Iraq and the Military Detention Debate: Firsthand Perspectives from the Other War", 2003-2010. Implications of asymmetric warfare for both insurgents and empires has received much more attention with the focus on the questions of what wars make sense to fight and how to do so when you must.
  • There has also been a trend towards disavowing the doctrine that words are harmless spawning concepts like stochastic terrorism.
  • The Treaty of Westphalia's notion of an international obligation of nations to respect each other's sovereignty has been eroding on multiple fronts that are said to justify intervention in activities in the interior of other countries in the last twenty years. This ranges from human rights abuses, to recognition of the global impact of the economic policies of individual countries in a global economy, to recognition of the impact of the international drug and arms trade and poor domestic policies of other countries on refugee problems, to the recognition that in an age of long range missile and drone attacks one's own country can be deeply at risk well inside its borders from activities well inside another country's borders (e.g. weapons of mass destruction were justifications for the Iraq War and weapons of mass destruction and human rights were justifications for military intervention in Syria). The concept of a "failed state" has also gained more currency.
  • Scholars has developed a better understanding of why the Presidency is so powerful on national defense matters. Aziz Rana (Cornell Law School) "Who Decides on Security?" (Connecticut Law Review, Vol. 44, No. 5, 2012).
  • There has been some academic literature seeking to revalidate the previously unpopular and largely discredited notion that national boundaries and ethnic segregation that align a country's boundaries with a culturally defined people which critics of nationalism argued merely involved a manufactured since of identity really does reduce war and political conflict and makes countries function better politically. See "Good Fences: The Importance of Setting Boundaries for Peaceful Coexistence" (2011) by Alex Rutherford, et al. In accord with this sentiment, subnational autonomy and independence movements in places like Scotland and Catalonia have surged in the last twenty years and the occupation of Ukraine and seizure of Crimea by Russia has spurred only a little international reaction. See also "Divide and Rule or the Rule of the Divided? Evidence from Africa" by Stelios Michalopoulos, Elias Papaioannou, NBER Working Paper No. 17184 (June 2011) (economic development more closely tracks ethnic group populations than national boundaries of governments able to set policies in Africa).
  • There has been a lot of research on the political impact of cousin marriage and endogamy within related groups like tribes and jati (i.e. fine grained caste groups). Cousin marriage and closely knit more remotely related tribes and castes tend to lead to weaker and more corrupt state institutions. See Mahsa Akbai, et al., "Kinship, Fractionalization and Corruption" (October 3, 2016). Several newly released think pieces attribute the economic rise of Europe and the West to the Christianity enforce ban on marrying people closely related to you, at a time when states were otherwise weak. See, e.g., Joe Henrich, "The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous". In a related point, there has been increasing recognition that the "state of nature" (e.g. in Afghanistan and Somalia) is not atomistic anarchistic freedom, but instead systems of clans and tribes with family ties to each other led by chiefs who force members of the clan and tribe to subordinate their personal freedoms those of the group. See, e.g., Mark S. Weiner, "The Rule of the Clan".
  • More generally, the literature on what makes societies thrive and fail in the long run has received more attention, with climate, contagion, geography and economics based theories growing competitive with culturally based theories. See, e.g. Tarko, Vlad and O'Donnell, Kyle W., "Escape from Europe: A Calculus of Consent Model of the Origins of Liberal Institutions in the North American Colonies" Constitutional Political Economy, Forthcoming (June 19, 2018).
  • Evolutionary biology and new ancient DNA findings showing that population replacement was more common relative to cultural diffusion than previously believed by mid-20th century anthropologists has encouraged conceptualizing events in terms of "culture group selection" as a frame for the U.S. culture wars and other conflicts, in a modern group oriented take on the social darwinism of the 19th century.
  • It was once a widespread assumption in political theory that economic growth and political and democratic freedoms were necessarily linked. The experience of China in particular, but also other Asian countries like Singapore, has deeply shaken that truism in democratic theory. Similarly, in the 1990s shortly after the demise of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall, it was widely believed that democratic capitalism was the inevitable path towards the future. See "The End of History and the Last Man" (1992) by Francis Fukuyama. But dissolution of large swaths of people in developed nations with the democratic process which many perceive as captured by "the 1%", the less than idyllic democratic systems that have arisen in Eastern Europe after the fall of communism, mass preferences for Islamic states over Western style democratic states in much of the Islamic world, the political instability of many new democracies resulting in ugly insurgencies and civil wars, and the East Asian experience have all fostered increased interests in alternatives to Western style parliamentary democracy coupled to free market capitalism, including non-democratic regimes by intellectuals on both the left and the right, and has led to pessimism about the long term prospects of global political economies. See, e.g. The Democratic Disconnect by Roberto Stefan Foa and Yascha Mounk, Journal of Democracy Volume 27, Number 3 July 2016. Views on the prospects for the human condition's future and human nature are not universally negative, however. See Rebecca Solnit, "A Paradise Built in Hell" (2017) and "The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined" (2011) by Steven Pinker.

Political identity, electoral politics and movement politics

  • While identity politics was alive and well in the late 20th century, the foundation of evidence supporting the existence of systemic racism in the criminal justice system in particular has grown much more solid and been much more widely accepted. Similar developments have been made in other areas (e.g. environmental racism). For example, within the progressive movement there has been an increasingly widely held view that it may be appropriate to subordinate some classical liberal personal freedoms to the cause of racial justice. See, e.g. “Occupy Liberalism! Or, Ten Reasons Why Liberalism Cannot Be Retrieved for Radicalism (And Why They’re All Wrong)” (2012) by Charles Mills. Others have questioned the virtues of naive meritocracy and note that nepotism shows up in unexpected places (like professional basketball, journalism, acting, and military service). The notion that technology is not necessarily ideologically neutral has gained more recognition. See, e.g. "Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor" (2017) by Virginia Eubanks. Another development of this literature has noted that race and ethnicity strongly influences which socio-economically successful people are likely to see their children fall in status and which socio-economically struggling people are likely to see their children rise in status. See, e.g. “Race and Economic Opportunity in the United States: An Intergenerational Perspective” (2018) by Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, Maggie Jones, and Sonya Porter. New research also has determined that the voting reforms of the civil rights era led to different electoral outcomes than in turn resulted in different policies that in turn improved the well being in many domains of people who had previously had voting rights impaired by policies that civil rights era legislation removed. See, e.g., “Valuing the Vote: The Redistribution of Voting Rights and State Funds following the Voting Rights Act of 1965” (2014) by Elizabeth Cascio and Ebonya Washington. These developments have also led the counter-movements. See, e.g., "White Backlash: Immigration, Race, and American Politics" (2015) by Marisa Abrajano and Zoltan Hajnal.
  • The marijuana legalization movement and decline of the "war on drugs" didn't originate in the last twenty years, but has made immense strides in that time period, achieving partial or full legalization of marijuana on a national and international scale and dramatically reducing the criminal sanctions for drug crimes in lieu of a more public health oriented approach (Switzerland, Portugal, Colorado, Washington State, and California were leaders in this area). This has been fostered, in part, by recognition of the problems (which are not precisely racial but are not indifferent to racial injustice) of mass incarceration in the U.S.
  • The first official recognition of same sex marriage as a matter of policy was in 2001, driven by an evolving understanding of what being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, etc. has caused recognition of same sex marriage to be constitutionally required everywhere in the United States as a result of Obergefell v. Hodges (U.S. 2015), and widely adopted in much of the world.
  • Changing attitudes towards the nature of marriage and love have cast polygamy in a new light based upon new political understandings of it has resulted in many people seeing the practice as sometimes problematic but not universally to be condemned. Hand and hand with the new political focus on consent and freedom to choose who you love that gained new attention in the gay rights movement have been movements to end marital rape exclusions (that have largely run their course), movements to elevate of seriousness with which sex trafficking and prostitution involving minors is seen, and opposition to marriage of females who are minors based upon the perception that such matches are not truly voluntary.
  • The means by which political identity is established and changed has been the subject of new thinking. There has been a lot of development in understanding that the model in which people form political views (and change them) based upon a rational analysis of evidence presented to them is inaccurate and misleading. Instead, political views are to a great extent a function of a larger wold view and are more strongly influenced by interpersonal social interactions, by the realities associated with the population density and ethnic diversity of the places where you live and work, etc. The modern view is to look for the same kind of factors that influence religious conversions and language shift. See, e.g., Daniel M. Abrams, Haley A. Yaple, Richard J. Wiener, "A mathematical model of social group competition with application to the growth of religious non-affiliation." There has also been increasing recognition that the cultural and political views of a founding group in a geographic area are very persistent over time even in the face of moderate rates of immigration of people who are assimilated to the founding groups culture and views. Research on the attitudes of people towards vaccination has been some of the ground breaking research in this area. Also along these lines new data has tended to convince political theorists that rather than getting gradually more conservative as they get older, people tend to imprint a set of political attitudes at the time they become politically aware that remains more or less stable over the course of their lives. The finding that when 25 percent of people in a group adopt a new social norm, it creates a tipping point where the entire group follows suit, showing the direct causal effect of the size of a committed minority on its capacity to create social change, has also influenced how political theorists think about movement politics. See Damon Centola et al. "Experimental Evidence for Tipping Points in Social Convention." Science (2018). The intersectionality, for example, of race, foreigner status and gender has also been a hot topic upon which ideas have been evolving. See, e.g., Navarrete et al. Fear Extinction to an Out-Group Face: The Role of Target Gender. Psychological Science, 2009; 20 (2): 155.
  • The Dunning-Kruger effect was formally described in 1999 and has gained widespread acceptance as an explanation of political behavior. A related investigation in political theory has been analysis of the circumstances under which thoughtlessness and ignorance is "mostly harmless" and those under which it can have pernicious consequences. See, e.g., “Cluelessness” (2016) by Hilary Greaves. Sometimes, for example, leading democratic theorists have argued, even ignorant participation in the process produces desirable outcomes. See “Democracy for Idealists” (2016) by Niko Kolodny. Accord here and I. D. Couzin, C. C. Ioannou, G. Demirel, T. Gross, C. J. Torney, A. Hartnett, L. Conradt, S. A. Levin, N. E. Leonard. "Uninformed Individuals Promote Democratic Consensus in Animal Groups." Science, 2011; 334 (6062): 1578 There has also been increasing attention to who doesn't vote and why. See, e.g. this Pew Study. This has been in the context of a growing political narrative of a view on the right that "cheating" and violating long standing political process norms is justified to prevent newcomers and outsiders who are inferior to them from gaining political power and harming them as they become a minority. The abandonment of the assumption of perfect rationality has also spurred whole sub-disciplines outside political theory such as behavioral economics.
  • While not strictly limited to the last twenty years, political theorists have noted with increasing interest the surge of Americans (mostly younger) who identify as not religious, which happened half a century later than it did in much of Western Europe, what that identification really means politically and otherwise, and why it is happening now. The rise of the "nones" has been found to have significant political consequences. One aspect of this has been recognition of the "secular left" or "non-Christian left" as an increasingly dominant faction among white, Anglo Democrats. See, e.g., Pew Research Center, "In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues At Rapid Pace" (October 17, 2019).
  • The problems with single member district plurality voting systems, including gerrymandering and spoiler effects, which were widely recognized in the post-WWII wave of constitution making in Europe, have caught the attention of scholars and policy makers in the U.S. resulting in the adoption of ranked choice voting in Maine, and the establishment of the requirement that candidates who do not receive majorities face runoff elections in jurisdictions beyond Louisiana where this was long standing. Similar concerns have also motivated efforts to mandate open primaries in many states and an all party primary system in California. It has also spurred the national popular vote movement in Presidential races. Novel methods of quantifying and defining gerrymandering have been developed in the last twenty years. See Nicholas Stephanopoulos and Eric McGhee, "The Measure of a Metric: The Debate Over Quantifying Partisan Gerrymandering", Stanford Law Review, Forthcoming (November 30, 2017). There has also been significant experimentation with alternative voting procedures that reflect differences in intensity of preferences between voters in other contexts, for example, in budget decision making in the Colorado legislature, and in decisions on renaming of subdivision originally named after a KKK leader in Denver. In part, this interest has been driven by an unprecedented string of candidates who have won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote in U.S. Presidential elections. As one tech industry figure put the matter, there is a perception that "The United States had become “the Microsoft of nations”: outdated and obsolescent." Stanford University lecturer and entrepreneur named Balaji S. Srinivasan (2013).
  • Our understanding of the process by which the political coalitions that make up the two major political parties are constantly tweaked and evolve has been greatly refined. See, e.g., “The Coalition Merchants” (2012) by Hans Noel. There has also been increased recognition that the national Democratic Party and Republican Party coalitions are not simply mirror images of each other. See Peter Ondish, Chadly Stern, "Liberals Possess More National Consensus on Political Attitudes in the United States: An Examination Across 40 Years" Social, Psychological and Personality Science (September 14, 2017). Some in this field, in response to arguments that socio-economic elites in the 1% control everything and are cohesive in doing so note, as this political scientist did that: "Movements like WTF embrace the pernicious myth of populism that beneath elite squabbles there exists widespread unity of principles." Julia Azari at Mischiefs of Faction (July 12, 2017).
  • The YIMBY (yes in my backyard) has developed in response to the perceived macro-level downsides to allowing everyone to take a NIMBY (not in my backyard) attitude towards various kinds of land uses like high density housing, permitting sex offenders to live in any area, etc. This attempts to identify governmental and non-governmental regulations that stand in the way of desirable ends. See, e.g. Generation Priced Out (2018) by Randy Shaw.

24 August 2020

Shifting The Constitutional Balance of Power

The U.S. Constitution specifically places a huge barrier to fixing one of the biggest problems with the U.S. Constitution, the equal number of Senators for each state in the U.S. Senate without regard to population, which is also part of the problem with the Electoral College. Article V of the U.S. Constitution (emphasis added; spent language shown stricken out) states:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; 
Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
The U.S. Constitution doesn't leave us without other possible solutions to our nation's political woes, however.  

The near elimination of the filibuster for some matters in the U.S. Senate, and clear pathway for future majorities in the U.S. Senate to do the same has reduced the percentage of the population that can hold back Democratic majorities.

Adding States

Progress towards addressing the inequity of the U.S. Senate and Electoral College could be made by adding new U.S. States. 

The District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are the obvious choices. This would add four Democratic U.S. Senators and shift the balance of the U.S. House to the left.

Other U.S. territories could be added as states but all of them have far fewer people than Wyoming (the smallest U.S. state in population), unlike the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico which have more than the population of the smallest U.S. state and are predominantly non-white yet lack any representation in Congress. 

The District of Columbia has 22% more people than Wyoming (it also had more people than Vermont). Puerto Rico with an estimated 2020 population of 3.2 million which is more than twenty-U..S. states) also lacks any representation in the Electoral College while U.S. states with its population have four seats in the U.S. House and  six electoral votes.

Guam has 29% of the population of Wyoming and the U.S. Virgin Islands has 18%. The Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa, respectively, have about 9% of the population of Wyoming each. The four jurisdictions combined have less than two-thirds of the population of Wyoming. 

California could be broken up into two to six more states, mitigating the worst problem created by the Electoral College and equal representative in the U.S. Senate with a proposal that has some support within California.

This would reduce the power of the Democrats in the U.S. Senate if all three of the competitive states elected two Republicans to the U.S. Senate, and would break even if one of the new six U.S. Senate seats in competitive states went to Democrats and five went to Republicans. A net gain of two Democratic seats in the U.S. Senate would be par for the course in this proposal. 

Collectively, the proposal would also add ten U.S. Senators from California, and ten electoral votes to California. In the Electoral College, the gain of ten additional Electors for the region would be offset by the fact that they would not vote monolithically, causing the net number of Democratic Electoral votes to decline in many years. But the presence of three competitive states in what was California would shift the focus of Presidential campaigns to the West.

All of the resulting states would be in the middle range of populations of existing U.S. states.

Proposals are in the works to have participating states to the popular vote winner, rather than to the the winner of the majority of the vote in a particular state.

Changing Election Methods

Statutory change could authorize selection of a state's U.S. House seats by proportional representation, or to require a majority vote (either via a runoff or ranked choice voting) to win single member district seats in the U.S. Senate.

This would allow the U.S. to develop a true multi-party system and would also increase the incentives of individuals who are minorities politically in their districts to vote.

Changing Presidential Disability Delcaration.

A statutory process for removal of the President for disability other than the default in the U.S. Constitution pursuant to Section 4 of the Twenty-Fourth Amendment could be adopted. Section 4 states (emphasis added) that:
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Other Constitutional Amendments 

The U.S. Constitution also doesn't prohibit amendments that would:

Reduce the power of the Presidency:

* Remove the Presidential veto, or remove the majority required to overturn it.
* Expand the reasons for which the President can be impeached (e.g. for failing to faithfully execute the laws).
* Reduce the majority required in the U.S. Senate to remove the President (or other federal government officials) from office in a trial of an impeachment, to as little as a majority.
* Authorize legislative vetos of new regulations.

Reduce the authority of the U.S. Senate relative to the U.S. House:

* Require Article III judicial appointments to be approved by both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate.
* Require the U.S. Senate to vote on bills presented to it by the U.S. House within a certain amount of time, without which the bill would be passed without U.S. Senate action.
*  Allow bills that must originate in the U.S. House to be made law without U.S. Senate consideration.

I believe that a Constitutional Amendment could authorize the direct election of the President in lieu of the Electoral College.

A U.S. Constitutional amendment to give every U.S. territory a number of seats in Congress proportional to its population and not less than one seat, would be fair.

I like the idea of allocating seats to states in Congress based upon average turnout in the last five elections, while requiring census results to apportion seats within states (if gerrymandering isn't rendered obsolete by proportional representation, instead), although this would require a constitutional amendment.

Where Does Democracy Develop?

I'm not convinced that I would read the evidence the same way. 

The critical factor in my view has been the need of the autocrat to obtain resources that are not in the nature of rents that a monarch or aristocratic class or national government with socialized resources can exploit, as opposed to requiring the active cooperation and economic contribution of a commercial economy. But it is a serious attempt at answering a question worth answering with the right kind of methods, so it deserves serious consideration.
Historical accounts of democracy’s rise tend to focus on ancient Greece and pre-Renaissance Europe. The Decline and Rise of Democracy draws from global evidence to show that the story is much richer—democratic practices were present in many places, at many other times, from the Americas before European conquest, to ancient Mesopotamia, to precolonial Africa. Delving into the prevalence of early democracy throughout the world, David Stasavage makes the case that understanding how and where these democracies flourished—and when and why they declined—can provide crucial information not just about the history of governance, but also about the ways modern democracies work and where they could manifest in the future. 
Drawing from examples spanning several millennia, Stasavage first considers why states developed either democratic or autocratic styles of governance and argues that early democracy tended to develop in small places with a weak state and, counterintuitively, simple technologies. When central state institutions (such as a tax bureaucracy) were absent—as in medieval Europe—rulers needed consent from their populace to govern. When central institutions were strong—as in China or the Middle East—consent was less necessary and autocracy more likely. He then explores the transition from early to modern democracy, which first took shape in England and then the United States, illustrating that modern democracy arose as an effort to combine popular control with a strong state over a large territory. Democracy has been an experiment that has unfolded over time and across the world—and its transformation is ongoing.

From this publisher's summary of David Strasavage, "The Decline and Rise of Democracy: A Global History from Antiquity to Today" (Princeton University Press 2020) (Strasavage is a professor on the faculty of NYU law). 

Hat tip to The Economist magazine.

20 August 2020

Old Maids And Apes

One of the most curious proverbs is old maids lead apes in hell. A late sixteenth-century tale in which ape can be understood as meaning a dishonest bachelor trying to marry a widow does not go too far toward explaining the saying. In one of the books I found mention of the monkish story that women married neither to God nor man will be given to apes in the next world (no reference to the source), and here we seem to be on the right track. The proverb was widely known in Shakespeare’s days, and, since Shakespeare used it twice, a good deal of discussion followed. Apparently, the proverb means that those women who refuse to marry good men while they are alive will go to hell and have sex with apes.
From here

18 August 2020

The 19th Amendment Is 100 Years Old

Women gained the right to vote in the United States, nationwide, 100 years ago today (about 55 years after the end of the Civil War) when the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted.

Initially introduced to Congress in 1878, several attempts to pass a women's suffrage amendment failed until passing the House of Representatives on May 21, 1919, followed by the Senate on June 4, 1919. It was then submitted to the states for ratification. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee was the last of the necessary 36 ratifying states to secure adoption. The Nineteenth Amendment's adoption was certified on August 26, 1920:
It was basically a story of the rest of the country finally overcoming the backward and misogynistic South, a recurring theme in American history. It is also a case where the ordinary assumptions of political science that those in power will act in ways to keep themselves in power, didn't hold true in this exceptional historical moment.

Before the 19th Amendment was adopted, the Southeast generally didn't allow women to vote, but the comparatively newly admitted Western states uniformly granted women the right to vote and proved that it was viable to do so.
Image may contain: text that says 'Highest level of women's suffrage laws just before adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment:55][56 Full suffrage Presidential suffrage Primary suffrage Municipal suffrage School, bond, or tax suffrage Municipal suffrage in some cities Primary suffrage in some cities No suffrage'

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to authorize the 19th Amendment by a more than 75% majority with Southern state members of Congress providing the main opposition.

Image may contain: text that says 'US House of Representatives Vote on 19th Amendment Yes 304 No 89 -Abstain 30 New York City Yes No Abstain MCI MAPS'

It took many attempts in the U.S. Senate, but eventually it passed.

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In 1919, the Republicans were the socially liberal party and the Democrats were the party of the unreconstructed South. The 19th Amendment needed 54 votes in the U.S. Senate. It got 56 votes over several attempts culminating in the June 4, 2019 vote required to send the proposed constitutional amendment to the states.

Image may contain: text that says 'US Senate 19th Amendment Vote in Detail 2/3rds required for passage Votes For Against Totals % For % Against Democratic 26 Totals Republican 36 8 44 82% 18% 17 43 59% 41% 56 25 81 69% 31%'

Once the 19th Amendment was formally proposed by Congress, ratification of the 19th Amendment came quickly and followed the same regional divide.

Image may contain: text that says 'WA OR MT ND ID MN WY SD ME NV WI UT NE MI IA co PA KS IL IN oH WV MO AZ DE NM KY VA OK MD DC TN NC AR SC TX MS AL GA 1919 to August 1920 September 920 923 to 1953 1969 1971 1984 RATIFICATION OFTHE 19th AMENDMENT'

The 19th Amendment has absolutely shifted the balance of power in U.S. politics to the left, something clearly visible in the last two national elections in the U.S., in which the gender gap in partisan preferences in voting has never been greater.

For example, in the Presidential election in 2016, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by a percentage point or two in a few key swing states. But, if only men had been allowed to vote, Trump would have won in a landslide election.

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Likewise, in the 2018 midterms, the Democrats easily won control of the U.S. House of Representatives. But, if only men had been allowed to vote in that election, the Republicans would have had a safe majority in the House.

Image may contain: text that says 'What if only men voted? Projected results for the 2018 midterms based on polling patterns and FiveThirtyEight's Lite forecast on Oct. 24 186 projected Democratic districts 249 projected Republican districts ಕ0 FiveThirtyEight SOURCE: VARIOUS POLLSTERS'

The 2016 and 2018 election results would have been even more one sided if blacks and other non-white voters were voting only in the small proportions that were able to do so prior to the reforms of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and an earlier reform that gave Native Americans the right to vote.

The United States was not a particularly early adopter of women's suffrage on a national basis, nor was it particularly late, as a timeline at Wikipedia summarizes. There are still countries where women can't vote (and indeed, countries where nobody can vote in meaningful national elections for elected officials holding almost all of a country's sovereign power). The more notable women's suffrage adoptions at the national level after the U.S. adopted the 19th Amendment in 1920 include the following:
Federal Republic of Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) established in the 9 September 1921 federal constitution that married or widowed literate women of 21 or more, or single literate women of 25 or more could vote or hold office as long as they met any property requirements. When the Federation fell apart the following year, women lost the right to vote.
Irish Free State (equal parliamentary (Oireachtas) suffrage to that of men upon independence from UK. Partial suffrage granted as part of UK in 1918.)

Ecuador (a doctor, Matilde Hidalgo de Prócel, sues and wins the right to vote)
Mongolia (no electoral system in place prior to this year)
Saint Lucia
Uruguay (women's suffrage is broadcast for the first time in 1927, in the plebiscite of Cerro Chato)
United Kingdom (franchise made equal to that for men by the Representation of the People Act 1928)
Ecuador (the right of women to vote is written into the Constitution)
Puerto Rico (literate women given the right to vote. Equal suffrage granted in 1935.)

South Africa (Women's Enfranchisement Act, 1930: limited to white women on the same basis as white men.)

Portugal (with restrictions following level of education)
Spain (universal suffrage)
First women electors of Brazil. Brazil (universal suffrage)
Maldives Thailand

Cuba Portugal (suffrage is expanded)
Turkey (parliamentary elections; full voting rights).
British Burma (women are granted the right to vote)
Dutch East Indies (for European women only)
Western Samoa (European women)
El Salvador (with restrictions requiring literacy and a higher age)
Romania (women are granted suffrage on equal terms with men with restrictions on both men and women; in practice the restrictions affected women more than men)
South West Africa (white women)

Dutch East Indies (limited to European women only)
Panama (with restrictions. Full suffrage granted in 1946.)
Dominican Republic
Bermuda (limited to property-holding women)
Bulgaria (full rights)
France Dutch East Indies Guatemala (Literate only)
Japan Senegal French Togoland Yugoslavia
Cameroon French Somaliland Kenya North Korea
Liberia (Americo women only; indigenous men and women were not enfranchised until 1951)
Mandatory Palestine Portugal (expands suffrage)
Romania (extended to full rights)
Venezuela Vietnam
Republic of China (includes Taiwan: with restrictions)
India (establishment of the state)
Nepal Pakistan (establishment of the state)
Belgium Israel (establishment of the state)
South Korea Niger Dutch Surinam
Netherlands Antilles
People's Republic of China (establishment of the state)
Costa Rica Syria
Barbados El Salvador (all restrictions removed)
Antigua and Barbuda Dominica Grenada Nepal Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Ghana
Bolivia Côte d'Ivoire Greece
Bhutan British Guiana Mexico (all women and for national elections)
British Honduras Gold Coast
Cambodia Ethiopia (all political parties forbidden)
Indonesia Honduras Nicaragua Peru
Dahomey Comoros Egypt Gabon Mali British Somaliland
Colombia (by Constitution)
Malaya Southern Rhodesia Lebanon (nationwide)
Upper Volta Chad Guinea Laos Nigeria (South)
Madagascar San Marino Tanganyika Tunisia Cayman Islands
Cyprus Gambia
Burundi Mauritania Malawi Paraguay Rwanda Sierra Leone
Algeria Australia (universal suffrage Australian Aboriginals men and women)
Bahamas Brunei (revoked) (including men)
Monaco Uganda Northern Rhodesia
Congo Equatorial Guinea Fiji Iran (after a referendum)
Kenya Morocco
Papua New Guinea (Territory of Papua and Territory of New Guinea)
Botswana Lesotho Guatemala (all restrictions removed).
Democratic Republic of the Congo Ecuador (women's vote made obligatory, like that of men's)
Kiribati Tuvalu South Yemen
Bermuda (universal)
Nauru Portugal (few electoral rights were reserved for men)

Andorra North Yemen
Switzerland (federal level)
Bangladesh (suffrage enshrined in constitution adopted after independence)
Bahrain[ (Bahrain did not hold elections until 2002)
Jordan Solomon Islands
Angola Cape Verde Mozambique São Tomé and Príncipe Vanuatu
Timor Timur (Indonesia)
Portugal (all restrictions were lifted after the Carnation Revolution)
Marshall Islands Federated States of Micronesia Nigeria (North)
Kuwait (first time)
Central African Republic
Namibia (universal suffrage)

Appenzell Innerrhoden (Swiss canton) was forced to accept women's suffrage by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland Western Samoa (universal suffrage)
Afghanistan (revoked by Taliban)
Kuwait (revoked)

Afghanistan (re-granted after the fall of Taliban)
United Arab Emirates (UAE) (limited suffrage for both men and women).

Saudi Arabia (introduced along with right to run for municipal elections)

Note: in some countries both men and women have limited suffrage. For example, in Brunei, which is a sultanate, there are no national elections, and voting exists only on local issues. In the United Arab Emirates the rulers of the seven emirates each select a proportion of voters for the Federal National Council (FNC) that together account for about 12% of Emirati citizens.