Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: The longest-running trifecta

Today’s Brew identifies those states that have rarely seen recent changes in their trifecta status + announces our newest Learning Journey  
The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Wednesday, July 24, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. One state—Utah—has been a GOP trifecta since 1985
  2. Introducing our newest Learning Journey on deference
  3. Today! Our briefing on the Supreme Court and the administrative state

Utah has had 34 straight years of trifecta control – the longest active streak in the nation

As I’ve talked about often in the Brew, a state government trifecta describes when one political party holds the governorship and majorities in both state legislative chambers. While most states have seen at least one change in their trifecta status within the last 20 years, five states—Nebraska, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah—have not had a trifecta change since at least 1999. In Utah, Republicans have controlled the governor’s office, House, and Senate since 1985.

Three more fast facts about trifectas:

  • Four states—Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, and New Hampshire— have seen their trifecta status change twice since 2014. Colorado and Illinois both went from having a Democratic trifecta to divided government in 2014 and back to a Democratic trifecta in 2018. Nevada went from a Republican trifecta to divided government in 2016 and to a Democratic trifecta in 2018. New Hampshire went from divided government to a Republican trifecta in 2016 and back to divided government in 2018.

  • Heading into the 2010 elections, there were 25 total trifectas—16 Democratic and nine Republican—in the United States.

  • There have been 62 trifecta changes since 2010.

In 2019, elections could determine the trifecta status of five states—Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia. Kentucky and Mississippi are Republican trifectas while New Jersey is a Democratic one. Louisiana and Virginia have a divided government, and in both states, Republicans control the legislature and Democrats the governorship.

There are currently 36 state government trifectas—14 Democratic and 22 Republican—and 14 states with divided government. The 14 states that are governed by Democratic trifectas include 34.4% of the U.S. population, and 41.9% of the U.S. population lives in the 22 states governed by Republican trifectas.


Learn more

Forward This blank   Tweet This blankblank   Send to Facebook


Briefing: SCOTUS 2018-2019 term and the administrative state
Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has issued rulings in the 69 cases the court heard this term, let’s look back on the rulings impacting the administrative state. 

Introducing our newest Learning Journey on deference 

We’re excited to debut our eighth Learning Journey. As a refresher, our Learning Journeys give you a series of daily emails with information, examples, and exercises to help you broaden your knowledge of U.S. government and politics and help you understand each aspect of a particular concept.

Our most recent journey is on judicial deference. In the context of administrative law, deference applies when a federal court yields to an agency’s interpretation of either a statute that Congress instructed the agency to administer or a regulation promulgated by the agency.

Our Learning Journey here is a 4-day overview of deference in the context of the administrative state. We cover the most commonly applied federal deference doctrines—including Chevron deference, Auer deference, and Skidmore deference—and examine the different approaches to deference in the states. Our journey also features leading support and opposition arguments from administrative law scholars, a look at the future of deference, and various reform proposals. Auer deference—which requires courts to accept an agency’s interpretation of its own ambiguous regulation—was the key principle considered in the Supreme Court’s review of Kisor v. Wilkie this past term.

Last week, we introduced a Learning Journey on judicial review, which refers to the power of courts to interpret the law and overturn any legislative or executive actions that are inconsistent with the law. The concept of judicial review dates back to the Supreme Court’s decision in Marbury v. Madison in 1803, which held that “a legislative act contrary to the constitution is not law.” Judicial review is a key concept in administrative law and deference is a principle of judicial review.

If you want to learn more about these principles, taking one of our Learning Journeys is a smart—and free—way to do so. Just click the link below to get started.

Our briefing on the Supreme Court and the administrative state is today

Later this morning I will be hosting a free Ballotpedia briefing looking back on the Supreme Court’s most recent term. We’ll provide an overview of the term just ended and look ahead to some of the cases and issues that are already on the docket for the 2019-20 term. And we’ll focus in particular on the Court’s rulings from last term that affect the administrative state, involving principles such as deference, judicial review, and the nondelegation doctrine.

We’ve just about wrapped up our preparations for today’s webinar, and I have to admit, I’m genuinely excited about the topics we’ll be discussing. These administrative law principles affect how our three branches of government—executive, judicial, and legislative—interact to shape public policy, and the discussion of these Supreme Court cases provide real-life examples of those principles in action.

The briefing starts at 11 am CST. I hope you can join us in a few hours for this very informative and interesting session. There are still spaces available—click the link below to reserve your spot. And if you cannot make it—signup and you’ll receive an email with the recording.

Ballotpedia depends on the support of our readers.

The Lucy Burns Institute, publisher of Ballotpedia, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations are tax deductible to the extent of the law. Donations to the Lucy Burns Institute or Ballotpedia do not support any candidates or campaigns.