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What factors are analyzed to determine if a candidate will win election?
- 1. Homogeniety v Heterogeniety
- 2. Incumbents-record
- 3. Likihood of win
- 4. Election v Midterm
- 5. visibility
Differences between organization of House and organization of Senate
- Size and electoral methods have implications for how the senate and house work:
- 1. How they handle debate: House can terminate debate by majority vote but the Senate can't; Filibusters exist in the Senate--there can be cloture though, which is when 60 out of 100 of the senators must vote to end filibuster.
- 2. House is majoritarian institution and Senate is not; the majority in the House can do whatever it wants while minority gets very little done
What are the collective and individual benefits of Committees?
- Collective: specialization and division of labor--gets more done. Also, standing committees are established so as to save time.
- Individual: Electoral power (if its important to your constituents, congresswomen and men can credit claim and establish a track record and get donations from interest groups) and policy and power (if you stay with a committee, you'll ascend in power with seniority usually)
What's Mayhew's assumption and evidence against it?
- Mayhew assumes that politicians are self interested and only care about reelection, not policy-making or anything else. Consequentially, the whole structure of Congress is created to support that goal. Makes no sense in light of reality because:
- 1. Members chose to make committees
- Seniority cracked- secret ballots that can veto a senior member from a committee leadership position
- Weakened autonomy and independence of leaders-
- 2. Rules committee controls floor agenda. Reform gave house speaker the right to remove and appoint chairmen on the rules committee--people who were making independent decisions are now influenced by outside forces. The only way the speaker of the house can loose control over the floor agenda is if a House majority votes against him. **need to note that a large number of members arent concerned about reelection because they usually are reelected.
These policies led to less autonomy for members of Congress.
What are the responsibilities of the Rules Committee and what changes have occurred?
- 1. Agenda control both positive and negative
- 2. How much time is allocated to a bill
- 3. Amendment process for any bill
- What amendments are permissable and under what circumstances and how they'll be voted on
- Can block amendments, submit amendments that will fail, etc.
- King of the hill vote
- 4. Can exempt house rules
Factors that led to polarization
- 1. Migration of white Republicans to the South
- 2. Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Civil Rights Act of 1964 encouraged blacks to vote Democrat
- These two together got rid of the solid south coalition and dixiecrat southerners joined the Republican party
- 3. Redistricting as more people began to live near people with similar tendencies (liberal v conservative) and safer seats as a result
- 4. ideological elites/ party activists
"The Republican Domination of southern congressional delegations led to a more homogenous, liberal democratic party in Congress, which led to more polarized parties and finally to the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994"
Why was Clinton impeached even though the majority of the senate preferred censure and the pulic preferred censure?
The Republican party pressured its members to vote on a censure rule change--no effect on voting record, consituents rarely care about procedural voting--so that the choices became either no consequence or impeachment. Structuring choices so that there is one that people find unacceptable and one that the party leadership prefers
Describe Brady and Volden's theory
- New policy decisions are contingent on:
- 1.median legislator's preference in House and Senate
- 2. President's preference
- 3. Filibuster pivot's preference 60 v 40
- 4. Current policy (the more extreme the status quo, the easier it is to mobilize to change
- 1. Doesnt elaborate enough on the power of parties
- 2. President doesnt always respond to shifts in public opinion
Public opinion as an opportunity, an obstacle, or a goal
- Public opinion is not fixed because of the varying saliency of issues.
- Public Opinion as an opportunity: Bill Clinton's administration, the minimum wage bill, and the use of amendments on Republican bills after the Republicans suffered a decrease in public opinion from government shutdowns. Politicians can affect saliency
Constraint: Welfare reform: Clinton kept vetoing healthcare bills because of differences in details, but ultimately, he needed to pass it due to the strong public opinion sentiment that there needs to be some sort of reform.
Ballot feed: Perceptions of what the public wants shapes strategies--appropriations bill approval under clinton. Republicans thought that Clinton would cave to their demands because he was concerned about reelection and public opinion, precedent under Bush's presidency showed that blame fell on president for government shutdowns, and the public would side with the republicans on the substantive parts of the debate