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The 37 trifectas is the most across the country in more than 60 years and represents a growing shift away from divided government.<ref>[http://p.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/nov/10/rising-number-of-states-seeing-one-party-rule/?page=all#pagebreak ''Washington Times'' "Rising number of states seeing one-party rule," November 10, 2012]</ref><ref>[http://www.cnbc.com/id/49939112/OneParty_Control_Opens_States_to_Partisan_Rush ''CNBC'' "One-Party Control Opens States to Partisan Rush," November 23, 2012]</ref> There are two additional "elected trifectas" -- however, [[State government trifectas#Trifecta complexities|power-sharing complexities]] have removed those states from the trifecta count.
 
The 37 trifectas is the most across the country in more than 60 years and represents a growing shift away from divided government.<ref>[http://p.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/nov/10/rising-number-of-states-seeing-one-party-rule/?page=all#pagebreak ''Washington Times'' "Rising number of states seeing one-party rule," November 10, 2012]</ref><ref>[http://www.cnbc.com/id/49939112/OneParty_Control_Opens_States_to_Partisan_Rush ''CNBC'' "One-Party Control Opens States to Partisan Rush," November 23, 2012]</ref> There are two additional "elected trifectas" -- however, [[State government trifectas#Trifecta complexities|power-sharing complexities]] have removed those states from the trifecta count.
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On [[State government trifectas#2013|November 5, 2013]] the state of Virginia lost its Republican trifecta. Democratic candidate [[Terry McAuliffe]] defeated [[Ken Cuccinelli]] for the office of [[Governor of Virginia]]. When McAuliffe is sworn into office in January 2014, there will be 36 trifectas -- 23 Republican and 13 Democratic.<ref>[http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/11/05/democrat-terry-mcauliffe-projected-to-win-va-governor-race-in-surprisingly/ ''FOX News,'' “Democrat Terry McAuliffe wins Va. governor’s race, Fox News projects,” November 5, 2013]</ref>
 
==Trifecta details==
 
==Trifecta details==
 
===Trifecta plus===
 
===Trifecta plus===
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In addition to having a trifecta, it is also worth exploring which states have supermajorities. The supermajority allows a party in power to further exert its influence over the minority party.
 
In addition to having a trifecta, it is also worth exploring which states have supermajorities. The supermajority allows a party in power to further exert its influence over the minority party.
  
As of December 2012, there are 21 states with a trifecta and a supermajority and 15 states with a trifecta but no legislative supermajority. The breakdown is as follows:<ref name=ncsl>[http://ncsl.typepad.com/the_thicket/2012/11/half-the-states-will-have-veto-proof-majorities.html ''NCSL'' "Half the States will Have Veto-Proof Majorities," November 27, 2012]</ref>
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As of August 2013, there are 23 states with a trifecta and a supermajority and 14 states with a trifecta but no legislative supermajority. The breakdown is as follows:<ref name=ncsl>[http://ncsl.typepad.com/the_thicket/2012/11/half-the-states-will-have-veto-proof-majorities.html ''NCSL'' "Half the States will Have Veto-Proof Majorities," November 27, 2012]</ref>
 
{{col-begin|width=50%}}
 
{{col-begin|width=50%}}
 
{{col-break}}
 
{{col-break}}
{{bluedot}} <u>Democratic trifectas and supermajorities</u>
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{{bluedot}} <u>Democratic trifectas and supermajorities (8)</u>
 
* California
 
* California
 
* Hawaii
 
* Hawaii
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* Maryland
 
* Maryland
 
* Massachusetts
 
* Massachusetts
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* Rhode Island
 
* West Virginia
 
* West Virginia
 
{{col-break}}
 
{{col-break}}
{{reddot}} <u>Republican trifectas and supermajorities</u>
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{{reddot}} <u>Republican trifectas and supermajorities(15)</u>
 
* Alabama
 
* Alabama
 
* Georgia
 
* Georgia
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* Idaho
 
* Idaho
 
* Kansas
 
* Kansas
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* Louisiana
 
* North Carolina
 
* North Carolina
 
* North Dakota
 
* North Dakota
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{{col-begin|width=50%}}
 
{{col-begin|width=50%}}
 
{{col-break}}
 
{{col-break}}
{{bluedot}} <u>Democratic trifectas without supermajorities</u>
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{{bluedot}} <u>Democratic trifectas without supermajorities (5)</u>
 
* Colorado
 
* Colorado
 
* Connecticut
 
* Connecticut
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* Vermont
 
* Vermont
 
{{col-break}}
 
{{col-break}}
{{reddot}} <u>Republican trifectas without supermajorities</u>
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{{reddot}} <u>Republican trifectas without supermajorities (9)</u>
 
* Alaska
 
* Alaska
 
* Arizona
 
* Arizona
 
* Florida
 
* Florida
* Louisiana
 
 
* Michigan
 
* Michigan
 
* Mississippi
 
* Mississippi
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{{col-end}}
 
{{col-end}}
  
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:''Note: In early 2013, two states were added to the supermajority with trifecta count. In Louisiana, [[Louisiana state senator switches party|a state senator switched to the GOP]], providing a supermajority for Republicans. In Rhode Island, [[Rhode Island governor switches party affiliation|Governor Lincoln Chafee]] switched from Independent to Democratic, providing a trifecta to the Democrats to go along with an existing legislative supermajority.
 
{|
 
{|
 
|----- valign="right"
 
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|
 
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[[File:Trifecta Plus December 2012.png|thumb|center|350px|As of December 2012, the following 12 states have a Trifecta Plus. In three states, the Democratic Party has a trifecta while the State Supreme Court has a working majority of justices that tend to support progressive jurisprudence. In nine states, the Republican Party has a trifecta while the State Supreme Court has a working majority of justices that tend to support conservative/libertarian issues.]]
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[[File:Trifecta Plus December 2012.png|thumb|center|350px|As of December 2012, the following 12 states had a Trifecta Plus. In three states, the Democratic Party had a trifecta while the State Supreme Court had a working majority of justices that tended to support progressive jurisprudence. In nine states, the Republican Party had a trifecta while the State Supreme Court had a working majority of justices that tended to support conservative/libertarian issues.]]
 
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[[File:Control of states map 2012.png|thumb|center|350px|As of December 2012, there are 21 states where there is a trifecta and a supermajority in the legislature. Of those 21 states, 14 are Republican and 7 are Democratic.]]
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[[File:Control of states map 2012.png|thumb|center|350px|As of December 2012, there were 21 states where there is a trifecta and a supermajority in the legislature. Of those 21 states, 14 were Republican and 7 were Democratic.]]
 
|}
 
|}
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==Who Runs the State report==
 
==Who Runs the State report==
 
::''See also: [[Ballotpedia: Who Runs the States]]''
 
::''See also: [[Ballotpedia: Who Runs the States]]''
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==Elections==
 
==Elections==
 
===2013===
 
===2013===
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====November====
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Virginia's governorship [[2013 Elections review: Democrats take control of two Virginia races and Christie breaks a record|swung]] Democratic on [[Virginia gubernatorial election, 2013|November 5, 2013]], as [[Terry McAuliffe]] (D) defeated [[Ken Cuccinelli]] (R). This removed a Republican trifecta in Virginia.
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====May 2013====
 
In May 2013, [[Governor of Rhode Island]] [[Lincoln Chafee]] changed his party affiliation from Independent to [[Democratic]], giving the Democratic Party a trifecta in [[Rhode Island]].<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2013/05/lincoln-chafee-to-switch-parties-sources-say-91994.html ''Politico'' "Lincoln Chafee switches affiliation to Democrat," May 30, 2013]</ref>
 
In May 2013, [[Governor of Rhode Island]] [[Lincoln Chafee]] changed his party affiliation from Independent to [[Democratic]], giving the Democratic Party a trifecta in [[Rhode Island]].<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2013/05/lincoln-chafee-to-switch-parties-sources-say-91994.html ''Politico'' "Lincoln Chafee switches affiliation to Democrat," May 30, 2013]</ref>
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===2012===
 
===2012===
 
::''See also: [[Democratic and Republican state government trifectas heading into the 2012 elections]]''
 
::''See also: [[Democratic and Republican state government trifectas heading into the 2012 elections]]''

Revision as of 15:54, 6 November 2013

A state government trifecta is when one political party holds the following three positions in a state's government:
BallotpediaExclusives.png
Map of the states with trifectas, current as of October 2014

In other words, a trifecta occurs when there is no divided government. The concept of the trifecta is important in state lawmaking because in many states, the governor, senate majority leader and house majority leader play decisive roles in the legislative process.

As of October 2014 there are 37 total trifectas.

The 37 trifectas is the most across the country in more than 60 years and represents a growing shift away from divided government.[1][2] There are two additional "elected trifectas" -- however, power-sharing complexities have removed those states from the trifecta count.

On November 5, 2013 the state of Virginia lost its Republican trifecta. Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe defeated Ken Cuccinelli for the office of Governor of Virginia. When McAuliffe is sworn into office in January 2014, there will be 36 trifectas -- 23 Republican and 13 Democratic.[3]

Trifecta details

Trifecta plus

Trifectas can be further analyzed by adding in an additional dataset -- State Supreme Court's. In some states, the State Supreme Court justice is elected on a partisan ticket, while in some cases the elected justices are non-partisan. Still in other states, the justices are appointed. However, in many cases, there is an effective understanding that a working majority of the court sides with either conservative or progressive issues.

A Trifecta Plus for the Democratic Party is a state with a Trifecta and a working majority of the State's High Court that tends to support progressive jurisprudence. A Trifecta Plus for the GOP is a state with a Trifecta and a working majority of the State's High Court that tends to support conservative/libertarian jurisprudence.

Based upon judicial analysis, there are 22 states where the State Supreme Court can be labeled as leaning in one direction or the other. Incorporating the trifecta data, the following is a breakdown of the states with a Trifecta Plus, as of December 2012.

Democratic Party Trifecta Plus

  • Illinois
  • Oregon
  • West Virginia

Republican Party Trifecta Plus

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Idaho
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin

The judicial landscape of the courts is based upon the Democratic Judicial Campaign Committee's analysis.[4]

Trifectas and supermajorities

In addition to having a trifecta, it is also worth exploring which states have supermajorities. The supermajority allows a party in power to further exert its influence over the minority party.

As of August 2013, there are 23 states with a trifecta and a supermajority and 14 states with a trifecta but no legislative supermajority. The breakdown is as follows:[5]

Democratic Party Democratic trifectas and supermajorities (8)

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
  • West Virginia

Republican Party Republican trifectas and supermajorities(15)

  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania[6]
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Wyoming

Democratic Party Democratic trifectas without supermajorities (5)

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Minnesota
  • Oregon
  • Vermont

Republican Party Republican trifectas without supermajorities (9)

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Note: In early 2013, two states were added to the supermajority with trifecta count. In Louisiana, a state senator switched to the GOP, providing a supermajority for Republicans. In Rhode Island, Governor Lincoln Chafee switched from Independent to Democratic, providing a trifecta to the Democrats to go along with an existing legislative supermajority.
As of December 2012, the following 12 states had a Trifecta Plus. In three states, the Democratic Party had a trifecta while the State Supreme Court had a working majority of justices that tended to support progressive jurisprudence. In nine states, the Republican Party had a trifecta while the State Supreme Court had a working majority of justices that tended to support conservative/libertarian issues.
As of December 2012, there were 21 states where there is a trifecta and a supermajority in the legislature. Of those 21 states, 14 were Republican and 7 were Democratic.

Who Runs the State report

See also: Ballotpedia: Who Runs the States

To further investigate the concept of trifectas and their impact on state government and policy, Ballotpedia analyzed state government control from 1992-2013, focusing specifically on trifectas.

Part 1: Partisanship

The trifecta analysis over this period shows a notable trend toward one-party control of state governments. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 states had trifectas while 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states have divided governments, while single-party trifectas hold sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years we studied. The number of states with trifectas doubled between 1992 and 2013.

The trifecta analysis also allowed us to identify seven states that have experienced dramatic changes in partisan state government control from the first 11 years of the study to the last 11 years of the study. Studying the partisan composition of state governments as we do also allows a clean way to assess whether a state is "moving red" or "moving blue".

Visualizations

Legend for State government trifecta visualization -- Figures 10 and 11

Legend for State government visualization with Presidential Voting -- Figures 19 and 20

Infographic

Elections

2013

November

Virginia's governorship swung Democratic on November 5, 2013, as Terry McAuliffe (D) defeated Ken Cuccinelli (R). This removed a Republican trifecta in Virginia.

May 2013

In May 2013, Governor of Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee changed his party affiliation from Independent to Democratic, giving the Democratic Party a trifecta in Rhode Island.[7]

2012

See also: Democratic and Republican state government trifectas heading into the 2012 elections

Heading into the 2012 elections there were 33 total trifectas in the United States. After the election, there were five new trifectas, bringing the total to 38 trifectas. However, following the election, power-sharing arrangements in two states reduced the total trifectas to 36.

Trifecta complexities

There are three states that complicate the labeling of trifectas. These three unique situations brought the total trifectas from 37 to 36, decreasing the Democratic states by two and adding one GOP state.

  • In New York, the Democratic party by virtue of the elections controls all three levels of government. However, a power-sharing agreement was reached that gave control of the State Senate over to the Republicans, after five elected Democrats pledged to caucus with the GOP. This burst the Democratic trifecta, reducing the total trifectas by one state.[8]
  • In Virginia, the State Senate is a tied chamber as a result of the 2011 elections. However, the tiebreaking vote is cast by the Lieutenant Governor, who is a Republican. Thus, control of the Governorship and state legislature effectively rests with the Republicans. This gives Republicans an additional trifecta, increasing the total trifectas by one state.[9]
  • In Washington, the Democratic by virtue of the elections controls all three levels of government. However, a power-sharing agreement was reached that gave control of the State Senate over to the Republicans, after two conservative Democrats pledged to elected Republican leadership to the chamber. This burst the Democratic trifecta, reducing the total trifectas by one state.[10]
 Trifectas Before and After the 2012 Election 

2010

See also: Democratic and Republican state government trifectas heading into the 2010 elections

Heading into the 2010 elections there were 25 total trifectas in the United States. After the election, there were seven new trifectas, bringing the total to 32 trifectas.

 Trifectas Before and After the 2012 Election 

Legislatively-referred constitutional amendment

See also: Legislatively-referred constitutional amendment

A legislatively-referred constitutional amendment is a proposed constitutional amendment that appears on a state's ballot as a ballot measure because the state legislature in that state voted to put it before the voters.

A legislatively-referred constitutional amendment is a limited form of direct democracy with comparison to the initiated constitutional amendment. With the initiated constitutional amendment, voters can initiate the amendment and approve it, whereas with the legislatively-referred amendment, they can only approve or reject amendments initiated by their state's legislature.

49 states have a law in place that allows citizens to vote on proposed constitutional amendments offered by the state legislature. The exception is Delaware, where the legislature alone acts on constitutional amendments.

Breakdown by states

The breakdown of states below is current as of December 2012, after the 2012 elections.

Breakdown of all 50 states
Requirement By Type Total States
Majority one session 9
Majority two sessions 7
60% supermajority 9
2/3 supermajority 18
Multiple options 6
Note: Delaware is not included above. The Legislature acts alone on constitutional amendments.

Majority (One session)

Nine states allow a referred amendment to go on the ballot after a majority vote in one session of the state's legislature. All 10 states have both chambers of the legislature controlled by a single party.

Majority (Two sessions)

Seven states allow a referred amendment to go on the ballot after a majority vote in two successive sessions of the state's legislature. With the exception of New York, all other states have both chambers of the legislature controlled by a single party.

60% Supermajority

Nine states allow a referred amendment to go on the ballot after a 60% supermajority vote in one session of the state's legislature. States with a 60% supermajority include Alabama and Maryland. Illinois, North Carolina, and Ohio have the required supermajority if you assume some independents caucus with the majority party.[5]

2/3rds Supermajority

Eighteen states allow a referred amendment to go on the ballot after a 2/3rds supermajority vote in one session of the state's legislature. States with a 2/3rd supermajority include California, Idaho, Kansas, Tennessee, Utah, and Wyoming. Georgia has the required supermajority if you assume some independents caucus with the majority party.[5]

Multiple options

Six states (Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Vermont) have an either/or system: a proposed amendment must be passed by simple majority in two separate legislative sessions, or by a supermajority vote of one session.[11] All four states have both chambers of the state legislature controlled by a single party. Additionally, Hawaii Democrats control both chambers with a supermajority.

New Mexico has a unique provision such that any amendments to the New Mexico Constitution proposed by the New Mexico State Legislature that would "restrict the rights created by Section 1 or Section 3 of Article VII or Section 8 and Section 10 of Article XII must win a 75% vote of the state legislature to go on the ballot.

See also

By Geoff Pallay
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References