American Government Process and Policies
American Government Process and Policies PSCI 1050
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Date Created: 10/25/15
Fiorina Peterson Johi39nrson and Mayer New American Democ facy Sixth Edition Chapter 11 Choosing the Congress The Electoral of the Congress I Congress has changed signi cantly since the Founder s conceived of it I Today things are different More careerdriven Very electorally aware I Congress became a career in the 20th century House tenure increased dramatically 2009 Pearson Education FIGURE I LI TFNUKE IN THE HnusE Congress became a career in the twentieth centuw I During whit1 zivmdvs did Home n39nlm rise dmmnrimlly I tht u rors wnm39bmcrl to tilt dunblhlg amem tenure between 7 a he 18905 and the 19D 5mm N clsun r polsby The Insuruuomhunuu nthc us Huuse m Rupn senn vusquot Amman Palin39ml Srirm RrVIIw March 11 I HNnrm1nl Omsmin rt 1 112 Hm Smn nirs on Cougrw 2001 2002 WAShulgmn DC AB Pym 2002 and the Clerk of us Home of Reprmnm ws Imp1crkhousegov Averagc Numbcr of Tums of Sewicc by Decade A A A A A A 17905 18105 18305 5505 18705 18903 A A A A A A 19105 19305 19505 19705 19905 20005 2009 Pear on Educat on Reapportionment Redistricting D How are the constituencies that are represented in Congress determined 1 Senate representation simple and never changes Constitution gives every state two senators House more complex census taken every 10 years AftenNards the 435 seats max seats in the House are apportioned among the states according to their populations This is called reapportionment 2009 Pearson Education Reapportionment Redistricting Redistricting 3 Drawing new boundaries of congressional districts usually after the decennial census Ii Restrictions placed on the number of people placed within each district and the shape of the boundaries 3 Gerrymandering drawing lines of congressional districts in order to confer an advantage on some partisan or political interest lnfers a particular motive for drawing district lines 2009 Pearson Education The Congressional Nomination Process I Congressional nomination process is much simpler than presidential one 3 Most states choose their candidates in one primary prior to the general election I Hardest fought primaries occur when there is an open seat Open seat A House or Senate race with no incumbent because of death or retirement 2009 Pearson Education Contemporary Elections i Safe seat a congressional district certain to vote for the candidate of one party i4 Incumbency advantage the electoral advantage a candidate enjoys by virtue of being an incumbent over and above his or her personal and political characteristics Greater visibility Party decline Cater to constituents Greater access to resources 2009 Pearson Education Party Decline Three fourths of all party identi ers vote for the candidate of their party 3 Party affiliations weakened and voters became more available and thus susceptible to other sorts of appeals i Incumbents adjusted their behavior Often use privileges of office to provide voters with additional more personal reasons to support them 2009 Pearson Education Growth in Importance of Representative B havior Members of Congress do much more than make laws It Representatives engage in constituency service District service effort by members of Congress to secure federal funding for their districts eg pork Casework to help constituents when they have difficulties with federal agencies 2009 Pearson Education Expanding MembT Ze r esources Each member has I A Washington office and one or more district offices I Typical House member employs 18 personal staff assistants more than 40 percent in district I Travel subsidies i Use of the frank free use of the US mail 2009 Pearson Education Campaign Fund39s Elections for Congress have become increasingly expensive I The average total spent by House candidates was almost 680K in 2006 I The average senator spent more than 5 million 2009 Pearson Education Contemporary Elections i Incumbent Senators win more often than not but they do lose more frequently I Senate elections differ from House elections in Party competition Uncontrolled information Better challengers The high ambitions of senators 2009 Pearson Education Party Competition i The two parties compete more evenly in Senate races than in House races States generally more diverse than the smaller congressional districts Constituencies more diverse and more difficult to please 2009 Pearson Education Uncontrolled Inforrnation i Senators receive far more media coverage than representatives I The media is not under the senators control This information can be positive or negative 2009 Pearson Education Better Challenger s I The office of senator enjoys a higher status than the office of representative i Higherquality challengers are more willing to risk a race for a prestigious office i Challengers for senate seats tend to be More politically experienced Better known and liked Have more money 2009 Pearson Education High Ambitions 7 Il Many senators have high ambitions El Desire to be president U Take positions on larger national and international issues to build their credibility as a presidential contender May offend constituents May be accused of neglecting their state 2009 Pearson Education Percentage Re ected FIGURE 5 95 REFLECTION RATES Representatives are reelected 90 more often than senators 85 39 Why do Senare incumbents lose so mud more re umtlr than 1 30 Home it39lcumbcnfs 75 30mm Huuldw Stanley and Richard G NemL Wm Smistits 1quot Amerimt Politics 70 2005 2006 Washington DC CQ Press 2001 55 50 55 50 V I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I 1946 1950 1954 1958 1962 1966 1970 1974 1978 1982 1988 1990 1994 1998 2002 2004 2006 I House incumbent I Senate incumbent 2009 Pearson Education I All ls Local i Members of Congress usually distance themselves from unpopular issues Voters dislike Congress but like their own representative National forces tend to have a limited in uence on Congressional elections 2009 Pearson Educallon National Forces in Congressional Elections E Coattails Positive electoral effect of a popular presidential candidate on congressional candidates of the party i More unified and more distinct political parties I Increase in issue advocacy in national elections Independent spending 527s Keeps national issues on the agenda 2009 Pearson Education National Forceslim the 19905 Republicans offered the Contract with America in 1994 Offered legislation the Republican Party promised to address if elected Republicans won 52 seats in House and 8 seats in the Senate 3 One of few times congressional elections have been run on national issues 2009 PPPPP HEW Congressional El e Ctions in the 2000s Neck vand Neck l The Republicans retained their congressional majorities in the 2000 elections but barely Republican House majority by 5 seats Senate an exact tie 2002 midterms Voters had national issues in mind Republicans gained seats in the House and Senate despite holding the White House Potentially positive effect of popular president of their pa y 2009 Pearson Education Congresslireh al Elections in the 200037 Ne Ck and Neck I 2004 election Republicans gained a couple of seats in the House of Representatives Republicans had a net gain of 4 seats in the Senate I Foreign policy was the central issue War on Terror or Iraq Invasion Congressional El e39Ctions in the 2000s Neck and Neck 2006 midterms House regained by Democrats Senate controlled by Democrats by a slim margin Dems gain 31 seats in the House Dems gain 6 seats in the Senate a 2008 elections The 2008 elections saw Republicans lose an additional 20 seats in the House and six seats in the Senate The economic downturn and the Democratic presidential nominee s popularity helped Democrats widen their majority in the US Congress i Overall national forces seem to have more impact on congressional elections than they did in the 19705 and 19805 2009 Pearson Education Do Congressional Elections Produce a Representative Body I Members are highly qualified hardworking well educated bright and interested in public policy I Our Congress is often thought of as a representative body that does not mirror the diversity found in the country OvenNhelmingly white male uppermiddle class to extremely wealthy 2009 Pearson Education F A Representative Body E Low representation among women and racial and ethnic minorities Substantive representation Descriptive representation Q Ranked low among democratic nations for the numbers of women in legislature 2009 Pearson Educat on F A Representative Body E Minorities win most frequently within majorityminority districts Majorityminority districts minority group is majority of voting population Limits to majorityminority districting Limited number can be created 39 May marginalize minority politicians in Congress 2009 Pearson Educat on