Shared Flashcard Set


US Congress Exam 2
Flash Card Set
Political Studies
Undergraduate 4

Additional Political Studies Flashcards





Week 7:  Voting

(a)Not only way to affect policy
(b)Party is best predictor
(c)Party unity votes; party unity scores
(d)Regional outliers
(e)Realignment, ideology
(f)Conservative Coalition
(g)Recruitment, socialization



a.     Not only way to affect policy

·      Voting is what members of Congress do. 

·      Voting is one of the most visible ways to be powerful in Congress.

·      It’s very difficult for the public to really know if their Congressman is really actively engaged in the process.  

·      Members of Congress can choose certain issues and budget their time for those issues.

·      There are some members that don’t care about any issues.  They’re mainly just interested in holding office.

·      Members of Congress aren’t experts on everything.  They have to narrow down their issue interests, sometimes.  Sometimes, members of Congress will have policy priorities that are very personal to them somehow.  Sometimes, personal experiences will overcome district boundaries, past voting behavior, and political ideologies.

·      The key to success—do your homework.  Members of Congress need to have a certain amount of credibility so that their voice can be heard.

·      Members of Congress write almost no bills (They focus on very particular in issues

·      More senior, more powerful members, members who represent larger states write bills.

·      Members write bills to make constituents or interest groups happy.

·      Sometimes, members write bills that they don’t even think will pass to get people to start thinking about it (agenda-setting role)

·      Sometimes, members of Congress come up with ideas and then senior members will take it and pass it (insiders in Washington will know that it was that member’s idea)

·      “Dear Colleague” letter:  with these letters, members of Congress can alert others of what bill they want to pass, gives a very brief overview of what the bill does, and then asks other members to become a co-sponsor of the bill.  Sometimes, co-sponsors change because an amended bill may change the meaning too much, or the bill may get too expensive, etc.

·      Co-Sponsorship is especially important when they belong to parties other than the one that wrote the bill; if you can prove that you have bipartisan support on a bill, this will show that the bill is important.  This is especially salient when the member introducing the bill belongs to the minority party.

b.     Party is best predictor

·      Parties are becoming more polarized over time, so this predictor has become even more accurate over time.

·      In chapter 9 of the D, O, L book, there is a chart that shows that there are fewer moderates in today’s political system than there were in the 1960s.

c.      Party unity votes; party unity scores

·      The majority of a party votes in one way and the majority of the other party votes the other way. This is party unity, and it has been increasing over time.

·      This era tends to resemble an earlier period, in which parties had quite a bit of influence.

·      There are some votes that may draw bipartisan support (like, in support of naming a library after someone or something)

·      The media likes to paint a picture of a Congress that is very divided and that is always conflicting.  However, there are always members of each party who are rational and there are often issues that garner bipartisan support

·      Party unity votes are at about 67%

·      Party unity scores:  this is the amount of times that a member of a party votes along a party line.  This is up to 90%

·      In parliamentary systems, the majority party has way more discipline over its party members.  Members of parliament who vote against their own party will often find themselves kicked out of the party after some time.  Parties essentially take control of the nominating process, so they want to make sure that their members are loyal to their own parties.  Members of parliament can essentially un-nominate you if you vote against the party.  They can move members around depending on if they want to make life easier or harder for you (they don’t necessarily care if you’re from that district or not).

·      In America, you don’t want to vote against your party too much, but you do it as much as you have to.  Parties encourage members to vote in favor of their districts even when the district wants to vote against the party (this is just so the member can get reelected and keep that party seat).

d.     Regional outliers

·      People who don’t vote with their parties

·      This used to be the Southern Democrats (they tended to be more conservative than the average conservative in the North)

·      They are situated in different regions of the US than do most members of the party.

·      There’s a Congressman, Ben Nelson, (D) coming from Nebraska.  Nebraska is more conservative than the average Democratic state, so Nelson votes Democratic only 40% of the time (to please his constituents)

e.     Realignment, ideology

·      You can use technology to create new districts that are precise; this makes it easier to elect either a Republican or Democrat, which decreases the number of moderates in the Congressional system.

f.      “Conservative Coalition”

·      Parties are more split now than they used to be

·      It used to be that you couldn’t necessarily figure out someone’s ideology simply by looking at their partisan identification.  For example, Southern Democrats were not the same as Northern Democrats.  Liberal Republicans and Conservative Republicans were different.

·      Now, most liberals are in the Democratic party and most conservatives are in the Republican party

·      The Conservative Coalition was a way of recognizing the party lines and how people would probably vote

·      Party control wasn’t operating; rather, conservatives voted together (even though some members of this coalition were Democrats and some were Republicans)

·      Any time a caucus gets bigger, it gets more diverse.  The Democratic caucus got bigger in 2006 and 2008 and this conservative coalition started coming back (because Democrats won seats in normally conservative areas)

·      Just because Democrats have an advantage, this doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily going to win everything; it depends on how liberal or conservative the caucus is

g.     Recruitment, Socialization

·      There isn’t a sort of formal recruitment process by the parties; candidates need to win a primary but parties don’t like to get involved in this because primaries can be very divisive

·      Parties try to identify potential candidates and encourage them to run; there is no guarantee that the person will win the nomination, but parties can morally encourage people to run

·      There are different time periods: there are liberal time periods and conservative time periods; certain people decide to enter politics at certain times.  Issues also change over time.

·      Sometimes, when partisanship is high, people may not wish to run.  When partisanship is low, people who are more interested in policy may decide to run.

·      Socialization:  Members hear unhappy rhetoric, see partisan votes (during this time period) and their future behavior will be based on what they see during the beginning of their time in Congress



Voting Influences

  (a) Constituents

  · Attentive publics

  · Inattentive publics 

  (b) President

  (c) Legislative bargaining

  (d) Logrolling



a.     Constituents

·      Attentive publics:  constituents are informed about a particular issue and are interested in the issue (and how the member of Congress votes on it)

o   Sometimes, these constituents are members of interest groups that help to keep them informed

·      Inattentive publics:  people who don’t know or don’t care about an issue

·      Attentive and inattentive publics are determined ISSUE BY ISSUE (this is not an absolute characterization)

o   Different districts are interested in different issues.  For example, agricultural districts care about agricultural issues but may not really care about urban issues.

o   Members of Congress have to determine whether his/her voting behavior will make inattentive publics turn into attentive publics

o   Members need to consider direction vs. intensity; Constituents may care about some issues but some issues won’t affect how the constituents vote during election season (if the member of Congress takes care of the one issue that constituents REALLY care about, he/she can push other issues to the bottom because the way he/she acts on those will not determine whether the member will get elected or not)

·      Members of Congress either vote in favor of their constituents because they truly believe what their constituents want OR they vote in favor of their constituents because they want to keep the constituent vote.  In the end, all of this is the same.

·      Party leaders want representatives to win (even if their districts go against the ideas of the party) because leaders would rather have individuals from their own party in office who vote against them some of the time rather than a member of the opposing party who vote against them most of the time.

·      If you’re perceived as being too far out from your district in terms of voting, your seat is in danger

b.     President

·      The president and members of Congress from that party share the same political fate

·      If the president does really well, that party will likely do well in Congress and vice versa

·      Presidents take positions on certain issues and votes.  When a president takes a position on something, this is a public signal to Congress.  If Congress doesn’t vote the way the president wants, this makes the president look bad, which makes Congress look bad

·      When presidents take certain positions and ask for support, they break partisan boundaries; not just partisanship determines how members vote (Bush was able to get 51% of House Democrats to vote the way he supported, which means that many did not vote along just party lines)

·      Support for the president declines over time, which means that Congress is much more likely to listen to presidential support at the beginning of his term than in the end of his term

c.      Legislative bargaining

·      A way to find a bargain to attract a winning coalition (just enough votes to win)

·      Bread metaphors:  “Do you want half a loaf or do you want none of the loaf?”  Everyone gives a little so that they can get a part of the benefits

·      Some members of Congress don’t have a lot of information on the issues or don’t really care how the vote is going to go so they look at how reliable liberals tend to vote and then vote in that way (cue-taking)

·      This is used for the average number of votes (not used for big issues that will be used to determine reelection)

·      Members find out how solid partisans are voting and then vote that way.

d.     Logrolling

·      There’s a certain type of trading that goes on:  if you’re trying to get a bill passed and you need another member’s vote.  Let’s say the member doesn’t really care about the issue but wouldn’t ordinarily vote for it because it’s drafted by a member of the other party or something.

·      The idea is that, in exchange for a vote on a certain bill, you get that one vote and then owe the person a vote whenever they need it.

·      Earmarks:  Segments that directly benefit someone’s constituents that are added to a bill to get some members to vote for it.

·      Sometimes, a program loses its effectiveness because it gets spread to thin trying to appeal to all the people it needs support from

·      Sometimes, bills can be bundled together in a way to get more support.  This happens a lot in agricultural program subsidies.  The bundle of bills pass because you have enough people who support at least a part of the overall bill.  It brings together different interests in order to get to 50% or more.




[image]Week 8
Behavior and Recruitment
[image]I. Time
[image]  (a) Weekly schedule
[image]  (b) Demanding work load
[image]  (c) Conflicting activities
[image]  (d) Voting
[image]  (e) Constituents
[image]  (f) Family friendly?

II. Living in Two Worlds

  (a) Washington and district

  (b) Attention changes over time

  (c) Expansionism vs. protectionism

  (d) Greater legislative success over



III. Voting Perspectives

  (a) Edmund Burke: vote for locality

       or nation?

  (b) Americans prefer members to

       vote with district opinion

  (c) Members sometimes (but not

       always) defer to constituents


IV. Constituencies

  (a) Concentric circles

  (b) Vary tremendously

  (c) Homogeneity vs. heterogeneity

  (d) Some characteristics associated

        with party voting

  (e) Declining competition in House


  (f) “Running scared”?


V. Home Styles (Richard Fenno)

  (a) How members interact with


  (b) Generates trust; provides leeway

        on voting

  (c) Easy to fabricate?


  VI. The Congressional Office as a

       Personal Enterprise

  (a) Growing travel allowance and staff

  (b) Legislative Reorganization Act of


  (c) Increasing casework and   communications

  (d) The Frank


(e) Staff titles

  · Staff Assistant

  · Legislative Correspondent

  · Legislative Assistant

  · Legislative Director

  · Chief of Staff

  ·Administrative Assistant”


VII. Writing Bills

  (a) Specialization, especially in


  (b) Some apathetic

  (c) Credibility key to passage 

  (d) Greater success with seniority

  (e) “Message bill”

  (f) Co-sponsoring




Behavior and Recruitment

I. Time

                (a) Weekly schedule

                (b) Demanding work load

                (c) Conflicting activities

                (d) Voting

                (e) Constituents

                (f) Family friendly?

II. Living in Two Worlds – world of DC and your district

                (a) Washington and district

                (b) Attention changes over time

(c) Expansionism (focus more on DC and not so much on district b/c they are well established. vs. protectionism (when you are protecting your seat in your district)

(d) Greater legislative success overtime- More senior members and do better, have more intuitional power – leadership office or whips; when a new member you do know anyone; seniority really helps

III. Voting Perspectives

(a) Edmund Burke (British Member of Parliament): vote for locality or nation? – wrote a letter laying out his political philosophy and said he should represent the nation and the people of his district didn’t re-elect him.

                (b) Americans prefer members to vote with district opinion

                (c) Members sometimes (but not always) defer to constituents

IV. Constituencies

                (a) Concentric circles

                (b) Vary tremendously

                (c) Homogeneity vs. heterogeneity

                (d) Some characteristics associated with party voting

                (e) Declining competition in House districts

                (f) “Running scared”?

V. Home Styles (Richard Fenno)- ways you project yourself to your constituents

                (a) How members interact with constituents – give speeches, got to events, mailings, homepage, etc.

(b) Generates trust; provides leeway on voting – qualified, increase name recognition, identification (one of them), sense of empathy (desire to help)

(c) Easy to fabricate? Qualified, and name recognition. Hard to fake sense of empathy without coming of arrogant. ; people in congress tended to act and dress different when in their home districts – spitting tobacco, dressing in overalls, etc.

VI. The Congressional Office as a Personal Enterprise

(a) Growing travel allowance and staff – people didn’t travel much during the day b/c it took so long to go back and forth from DC to the district. Most spent session in DC and recesses in their district; and congress began to give money so that members could travel back and forth to their districts (60’s 3 trips a year)

                (b) Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 – hire full time staff – 2 kinds – legislation staff and case work staff

                (c) Increasing casework and communications

                (d) The Frank (signature) - free mail;

                                - Used to respond to letters that people send to you

                                - bulk mailing to entire constituents

(e) Staff titles – MRA – Member Representative Account – about 1.3 Million dollars a year

                                · Staff Assistant – answering the phones

                                · Legislative Correspondent – helps to answer the mail - hired from within

· Legislative Assistant – briefing the rep and works on the wording to send out to constituents. Really working with an issue

-          CRS – provide confidential information to congress and their staff

                                · Legislative Director – shares responsibilities as LA and CoS; under CoS

                                · Chief of Staff – in charge of the staff and reports back to member; bigger picture strategy

                                · “Administrative Assistant” – AA – good job but doesn’t sound like it

VII. Writing Bills

                (a) Specialization, especially in House

                (b) Some apathetic

                (c) Credibility key to passage     

                (d) Greater success with seniority

                (e) “Message bill”

                (f) Co-sponsoring




I. National vs. local media


II. Local media advantages


III. Assistance to Members of Congress

Bureaucracy announcements

Congressional studios




I.The prestige press the stage  for other newspaper

II. Recession and  the technology era has decrease the paper newspaper J

  - internet web pages, taking away from the small newspaper

      - things have change in terms of media. These outlets were not there before. Now we have CBS and cable

       CHAINS: that are own by one org. Changes of newspaper- organizations that owns lots of newspaper

      organizations that are covering congress- ex congressional quarterly – the HILL- subscribe to the SQ or Hill

       Local news will cover you- local news is respectful to congress member while the national might not be

  local  reporters does not know much about politics- don’t know much about anything

      -newspapers use wire stories – not there reporters

      -Media relies on wire service that sends them story from D.C.- less perspectives L

      - the bureaucracy – can push you to get coverage by letting you announce it. Like a new building  cutting ribbon, even when you did not have anything to do.

      - studios- news stories, local distribution , you talk about bills or something like that. They are audio tapes that the local media gets. The tax pays for this L





IV. Local media

Ignores challengers
Critical of Congress, but positive about local incumbents
Senators receive more mixed coverage

V. National media

Very critical of Congress and its members
Senators receive much more coverage
President covered most of all




_ challengers don’t get cover because they are not interesting J so the incumbent gets all the attention.

-Senator- more important than house ---more criticism – national figures.

-House members are not so much seen at the national newspaper.
-Mid 80s Pew center- the number of newspaper in D.C> fill by half.- decline in reporters L
-90s – to many reporters
-political newsletter- you subscribe that only focus on a small gap of issues
-Senators get more coverage than house reps , but president get way more lol
--its hard to lead in the senate-  to many people that are important. Congress work is harder than the white house
--president has to reach national coverage.  National television- he solve stories. National congress needs the local media but not the national news




VI. Most members do not need or seek national media coverage


VII. Those who receive most national coverage are in the leadership


VIII. Senate coverage

90% rarely covered by national media
Mostly of leaders, chairs, ranking members, and presidential aspirants
Most senators primarily seek local media coverage




VI.Show horses- blow dry hair- superficial senator who likes to talk but does not know what’s going on
VII.Work horses-
VIII.Media has help the show horses but not so much work horses-  work horses got more coverage before not so much any more.




IX. Effect of media on Congress

Theory 1: it interferes with legislating
Theory 2: it is irrelevant to legislating
Theory 3: it can help with legislating

X. Timothy Cook

“Making Laws and Making News”
Complicated media-Congress interaction
Case study of how a representative tried to use the media to promote legislation

“outsider” and “insider” strategies




Theory 1- media is blame for the negative side of congress, image oriented ,  dominated by the president. Some have argue the media has disperse power in congress . They can call the elite. In the ways of law making L and nothing gets on… less a legislative body more in publicity seekers. Instead of confusing in committees now there are trying to spend time in the media and not doing their homework. Not working as a team work because of the media.

Media changes the institute

 Theory 2:  media is irrelevant to legislature, a typical member will not get coverage. Media does not actually change the process it only reflects power ( the leader) . Does not change the process, you can try to change the process by reaching to the media but it wont work

Theory 3: The media can be useful when passing legislature.

X. Timothy Cook:

 as an average congressman you seek for the media to get coverage. Most leader gets a lot of media but there is an average coverage and its not always coming from the leaders

-An unknown congressman reach out to the media to pass  legislature .  Sometimes you can use the media but you might not get the credit.  No dominance , they need each other collectively,. The media and the congress overlap… at war with each other others say no working together.
-“a struggle to lead the dance”-
-Reporters say what’s interested and the congress determines what is important
-- you can become an expert in one area or more
-- case study in Ohio (rep) no body knew. There fed supplemental compensation- extend the unemployment benefits . Don Pees,  wanted to extend the benefits because his constituents needed this. He understood that the media wanted news, get a hock to connect you idea to the media.  He beaure release the numbers on unemployment  , part of a larger story , also true for political candidates . Based on the media – wallstreet journal  opinion .
-Major contribution . Used the insider strategies “ working with other members”
-Outsider – media coverage
-His idea was  work with the media firs than do the insider . Then is back and forth
-What does it mean to be in the agenda- means that is the time for this issue. His idea got his bill pass 




Formal  Requirements
[image]Age – senator 30 yrs- 9 years a citizen of the united states
[image]Representative- age 25  and seven year of the united states
[image]You don’t have to be a U.S. born. You have to be a resident of your state but not in the district.
[image]Only set by the constitutions – the term limit
[image]1980-  term limit movement-  others don’t have it
[image]Some states wanted – to set a limit on the terms but it was unconstitutional – SC- not on federal office but yes on the states (term limits by states 0 overturn by the SC


no further information


[image]are self starters
[image]In the past, parties encourage and train people to run
[image]Other groups also encourage and train people to run
[image]Amateur vs strategic candidates
[image]Many people do not want to run




Party encourage you – they train you , from clothes and speaking

No money L you lose, no political experience

Famous people, name recognized

Amateurs almost always lose. L

Strategic- choose their timing and are experience . This happen because you have to give up your other job (if you’re a legislator)

-Some people don’t run because you have to move  D.C. and you have family, don’t want to give up your job, others hate elections
-A senior politicians
-Incumbents have a 90% rate of re-elections
-- people are os afraid of that number run


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