Politics & Polls #91: Congress & the Class of ’74

May 17, 2018
B. Rose Kelly
Woodrow Wilson School

In 1974, a new wave of legislators entered Congress after the Watergate Scandal, determined to change the American political landscape. While these “Watergate Babies” inspired great change, some argue they also contributed significantly to the growing divide between Republicans and Democrats.

Could a similar situation play out in today’s political landscape? John A. Lawrence, author of “The Class of ’74: Congress after Watergate and the Roots of Partisanship,” joins Julian Zelizer to discuss this and more in this episode of Politics & Polls.

Lawrence is a visiting professor at the University of California, Washington Center. He worked in the House of Representatives for 38 years, the last eight as chief of staff to then-Speaker and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.


Zelizer is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is also a CNN Political Analyst and columnist for the Atlantic. He is the author of several books including, most recently, "The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society," which was just awarded the DB Hardeman Prize for the Best Book on Congress. He has edited and authored 19 books on American political history and published over 700 hundred op-eds, including his popular weekly column on CNN.com.

Wang is professor of neuroscience and molecular biology at Princeton University. He is known for his books "Welcome to Your Brain" and "Welcome to Your Child's Brain" and for his founding role at the Princeton Election Consortium, a blog providing U.S. election analyses. In 2004, Wang was one of the first to aggregate U.S. presidential polls using probabilistic methods. He has also developed new statistical standards for partisan gerrymandering. A neuroscientist, Wang's academic research focuses on the neuroscience of learning, the cerebellum.