A look at the US Senate

Turn a TV or flip to your choice politics blog, and you'll learn that Congress is flip-flopping. One year liberals sweep in, the next year liberals sweep out as conservatives come in like the tide.

This must be a new phenomenon you might be thinking, one arising along with the 24-hour news cycle and all that is bad with modernity.

Well below we map out the ebbs and flows of ideologies in the Senate. Using data from Keith T. Poole's VoteView.com, we have mapped out the ideological ranking of ever senator who has served in the past 112 Congresses. What decades have waves of change, and when do majorities solidify their positions for years? It's all below.

Hover over each senator or event to see related paths
The current Senate.
Richard Lugar
Moderate Republican who recently lost primary challenge.
Barack Obama
44th President
Joe Biden
47th Vice President
1994 Newt Gingrich and the Contract With America bring in a new crop of conservative senators.
1980 Dissatisfaction with President Jimmy Carter and Republican presidential nominee Ronald Reagan's coattails help a batch of moderate to conservative senators ride into office.
Robert Byrd
Longest Serving Senator
Lyndon Johnson
36th President
Joe McCarthy
Infamous anti-communist demagogue
1968 War fatigue and Lyndon Johnson's unpopularity help bring in a crop of conservative senators.
1902 Typical Senate Election.
1958 The recession of 1958, six years into Republican President Eisenhower's, leads to a 16-seat swing to the Democrats.
1930s After the Crash of 1929 and the enormous popularity of Franklin Roosevelt, liberal senators are repeatedly elected. By 1936, few conservative senators are still in the Senate.
1896 The then-conservative Democratic party splinters over supporting the gold standard. Its presidential candidate, William Jennings Bryan loses to William McKinley, and its senators lose seats to fringe political parties.
1860 At the beginning of the Civil War southern states' senators leave en masse.
Jefferson Davis
First and only president of the Confederate States of America
Daniel Webster
Early leader of the Senate
Andrew Jackson
Seventh President