John McCain, Not So Mavericky Anymore
In a newly published paper, Ben Lauderdale, a Ph.D. student in Princeton’s Department of Politics, uses a statistical analysis to plot the relative mavericky-ness of various members of Congress. Mavericks, he explained to John Sides, are members who vote “less on the basis of the political dimension that predicts all legislators’ behavior and more on particularistic factors unique to themselves.” In other words, their voting might seem erratic in the context of a rigid political spectrum, reflecting an idiosyncratic willingness to break ranks to support or oppose legislation on specific policy grounds.
So just how mavericky is Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who proudly donned and then curiously shed the mantle of the “original maverick”? Well, not nearly as mavericky as he once was:
So who are the true mavericks? Sides posts these graphs of the top 10 mavericks in the 111th House and Senate. It’s worth noting that seven of the top 10 mavericks in the House, and the seven most mavericky senators, are in the Democratic caucus — although, as Sides points out, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is only on the list because he frequently votes against Democratic legislation for procedural reasons.