A paper titled "The evolution of polarization in the legislative branch of government," by Xiaoyan Lu, Jianxi Gao, and Boleslaw K. Szymanski was published by J. R. Soc. Interface, vol. 16:20190010, 2019.

A paper titled "The evolution of polarization in the legislative branch of government," by Xiaoyan Lu, Jianxi Gao, and Boleslaw K. Szymanski was published by J. R. Soc. Interface,16:20190010, 2019. The paper studies the polarization of political opinions among members of the U.S. legislative chambers as measured by their voting records. The authors finds that polarization is greater today than it was thirty years ago. Previous research efforts to find causes of such increase have suggested diverse contributors, like growth of online media, echo chamber effects, media biases, or disinformation propagation. Yet, we lack theoretic tools to understand, quantify, and predict the emergence of high political polarization among voters and their legislators. Here, we analyze millions of roll-call votes cast in the U.S. Congress over the past six decades. Our analysis reveals the critical change of polarization patterns that started at the end of 1980's. In earlier decades, polarization within each Congress tended to decrease with time. In contrast, in the recent decades, the polarization has been likely to grow within each term. To shed light on the reasons for this change, we introduce here a formal model for competitive dynamics to quantify the evolution of polarization patterns in the legislative branch of the U.S. government. Our model represents dynamics of polarization, enabling us to successfully predict the direction of polarization changes in 28 out of 30 U.S. Congresses elected in the past six decades. From the evolution of polarization level as measured by the Rice index, our model extracts a hidden parameter - polarization utility which determines the convergence point of the polarization evolution. The increase in the polarization utility implied by the model strongly correlates with two current trends: growing polarization of voters and increasing influence of election campaign founders. Two largest peaks of the model's polarization utility correlate with significant political or legislative changes happening at the same time.