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us conress test 3

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Framers’ view of Political Parties
  • Framers had a negative view of parties (Federalist 10 Madison)... parties aren’t mentioned in the Constitution at all.

  • George Washington warned against parties in his farewell address


The Constitutions and Political Parties: not mentioned in Constitution at all



- Doesn’t talk about parties at all. Just says we shall have two chambers.

- Framers/Founders have a negative view of parties “factions suck”

The Legal status of political parties
  • Political Parties are responsible for coming up with nominees for elections, so they serve some kind of public function... so they have to adhere to the law



  • White primaries

    • Was a pre contest held in Texas to ensure that a white person would be elected

    • Supreme Court shut this down saying they were denying blacks of due process

    • Supreme Court didn’t think that parties were simply private groups, so they got rid of them.



we are still wrestling with what parties are: are they private groups or part of government.

-Parties come up with nominees for primaries, so they have a function and therefore must follow the law. White primaries: parties that used to pick only white people to run for office, but SCOTUS struck this down under the 14th amendment, therefore saying that parties are not just private groups.



The Prisoners’ dilemma and its application to Congress


  • Prisoner’s dilemma: two prisoners could talk or remain silent. They both have the incentive to cooperate/remain silent, because it would result in the least aggregate amount of time served.

  • when they both talk - they both get a long sentence, when they dont talk - theyre let off the hook, if prisoner 1 talks, prisoner 2 doesnt, prisoner 2 gets screwed

  • convincing people to go against their own interest

  • 1 important solution : hiring a leader



How can you convince someone to go against their interest, when people have the incentive to defect?

-According to researchers, there are 3 ways to get people to go against their own self interest



1) Long Shadow of the Future--> Lets say they are lifelong friends and they have done this crime a bunch and will continue to it. If they know its not a one shot game, it’s an infinite game, they can cooperate and cooperate and never really get in very much trouble

2) They Can Design Institutions that Force Cooperation--> Institutions that force cooperation outside the situation. Like a boat with 2 rowers, have to both row to go anywhere

3) They can hire a mastermind or leader: He arranges a deal b/t the two parties where they both benefit

1 and 3 best apply to Congress.


*In relation to Congress:

        1) Most prominent method

        3) Second method...i.e. committee assignments, fundraise, legislative process

        2) Hardest to achieve...Can’t agree on an institution



The three spheres of political parties


  • Political parties serve three roles:


    • 1. Parties as organizations : responsible for elections, infrastructure, and deciding nominees


    • 2. Parties in the electorate

      • Our attachment that we have to political parties


    • 3. Parties in the government

      • How they affect the Congress and the government (the governing of our nation) The only one that applies to our class.




1)   Parties as Organizations--> That are responsible for deciding nominees, that throw conventions every 2 years and national every 4


2)   Parties in the Electorate--> Peoples attachments that come with parties “are we a strong democrats” ect


3)   Parties in the Governments--> ONLY ONE THAT APPLIES TO OUR CLASS!!!!

-->  We’ve already speculated ways parties affect gov.

--> At some times parties are really really strong or really really weak

-Like democrat party in the 50’s, some dems were holding all white primaries in texas at the same time they were holding free elections in NY,

-Same shit with Republicans in the 50’s, very fractured


--> Now parties are strong and consolidated

--> Example: The debt crisis--> if Obama and Boehner figure out a deal, it happens



Party Polarization in Congress


  • Conditions where parties would be very strong (conditional party government

    • Inter-party heterogeneity

      • Difference between parties... democrats think something entirely different that republicans (far left, far right)



    • Intra-party homogeneity

      • Within party sameness... all the democrats think alike and all the republicans think alike (parties think the same)


  • These conditions are satisfied in both House and Senate, we have a more polarized Congress

  • When these conditions are not met, there’s more of a rank and file gov’t

    • -1 = most liberal / 1 = most conservative



  • -->  When both of these conditions are satisfied, we have STRONG PARTIES



    His second book is called “Party Polarization in Congress”

    -->  Is very concerned with these issues


Explanations for Party Polarization

1.Redistricting - media wants you to believe districts have been redrawn

One district states are even more polarized than they used to be

-senate does not draw lines for senate candidates

o   2.Extremism of Party Activists - they show up to the elections, and vote for other extremists

o   3.Procedural Change - its institutional, inside congress. the idea that america has nothing to do with it

o   4.Constituent Sorting - a select way people move, people are drawn to different communities depending on what they believe




Therault argued that you can’t isolate those factors, it’s a combination



The Integrated approach




-Back in the day, 25 percent of the counties had someone who one won with 60% or more.

--In the 2000 election, it was 45%


Types of votes in Congress  (Congressional Accountability)

1.Final Passage : after they’ve had all the debate on rules and amendments, it’s the final vote on whether or not the bill passes


    2. Amendment  : go over the legislative words and vote on them, -increases party disparity but votes stay the same

    3. Procedural- procedural votes divide parties by 100%, all the basic duties, who can speak, etc.

- party disparity increases, votes increase too


- 1. Final Passage (Substantive ) HAVE STAYED THE SAME!!!!


- 2. Amendment votes have (actually SLIGHTLY DECREASED) STAYED THE SAME

-3.Procedural Votes HAVE INCREASED! They are taking about twice as many as they used to




So IF on the test he asks, have procedure votes changed?? YES they have gone up


induced equilibriums (rational choice)
  • Preference-Induced Equilibrium : constituents committees and coalitions (3 C’s) are all in balance, and balances only arrive only through preferences


  • Structure-Induced Equilibrium : the balance that comes thru imposing some structure on the system


ex. olympics city voting = structure induced



3. divide the dollar goes on forever!


rational choice

1. Alternatives - are choices of outcomes available to voters, usually policies.


2. Preferences - are characterizations of the desires of a decision maker, consisting of an ideal point and a utility function


a. sincere preference - your own personal choices, what u really want, what u choose

b. sophisticated preference - strategic, you sacrifice your first choice

3. Ideal Point (top choice)

is a decision maker’s most-preferred alternative in an issue space.

4. Indifference Curves :is the set of all policy alternatives that a decision-maker finds equally appealing compared to a given alternative.
as long as its in your bubble, youre good


5. Win Sets :

is the set of all alternatives that beat a status quo in a majority contest.

shaded region where 3 circles intersect (on the indifference curve) where you can find a mutual agreement


6. Condorcet Winner : one alternative that beats all other alternatives in a majority vote

3How Congress Solves Problems :

1. Political parties : limits the numbers of meaningful actors down to 2

2. elections : result in accountability

3. legislative process : reduces the amount of bills

 4. committees : reduces numbers of dimensions

5. the president : focal point, but independent in action

Hotelling’s Law

The principle of minimal differentiation (or distance) move as little as possible but retain all of your supporters


  1. If voters base their decision on ideological proximity, and candidates can adopt any ideological position, there is a tendency for both candidates to converge to the center.


2. Competition for votes in the R and D parties does not lead to a clear drawing of issues, and instead, each party tries to make its platform as close to the opposite party's as possible.



3. To put it simply: there is a natural tendency for competitors to be pulled to a common middle ground.

Median Voter Theorem

knife edge solution!



Knife-Edge Solution: Deadlock solution (also Hotelling’s Law)

The principle of minimal differentiation (or distance): move as little as possible (on the Lib-Conserv legislative spectrum) to retain all of your supporters AND gain a few more (i.e. the moderate swing votes, or Median Voters)




Problems associated with decision making

    -hard to arrive at an equilibrium

1. MVT

2. PPM


Students lined up as mock MOCs with minimum wage example


Median voters win, must be pleased to get on their sides.

    -Ideal point of MV is key, as soon as MV is happy we'll get moving on.

    -Committees act as gatekeepers


1. Importance of status quo : the more perverse it is, the more power the committee has under closed rule

    2. Importance of Rules : open/closed rule


   3. Importance of committees : committees are all powerful and they sit on it, on a closed rule.





1.positive power : get an outcome different than median voter


2.negative power : idea of just sitting on it, not doing anything



open/closed rules
Definition rule : power goes to the median voter,
Because anyone can put forth an   amendment, legislation is inevitably brought closer to the median voter’s ideal point.



2.closed rule : most power goes to the committee,
MOC's only vote up or down. Congress can't discuss the bill and can only consider what the committee has proposed (more power to the committee.)



The Most Important Voter = median voter



1. Importance of status quo : the more perverse it is, the more power the committee has under closed rule

    2. Importance of Rules : open/closed rule


   3. Importance of committees : committees are all powerful and they sit on it, on a closed rule.





1.positive power : get an outcome different median voter


2.negative power : idea of just sitting on it, not doing anything

Krehbiel’s conditions for a good lawmaking model :

-Theory should predict that gridlock occurs often but not always.

- Should identify testable conditions under which gridlock is broken

- Should predict the formation of bipartisan coalitions of greater than simple majority size.

- Should identify testable conditions under which coalition sizes grow/shrink.

- Should expose and clarify the constraints faced by lawmakers in a democratic society.




The Pivots of Pivotal Politics  : filibuster and veto

The Voices of Pivotal Politics : median voter and president

Gridlock interval


- minimum winning coalitions, always policy changed, gridlock is common but not constant


everything inbetween the veto pivot and filibuster pivot

if policies are inside, they dont move

if theyre outside, they can move



Ways to get Parties to Cooperate / Prisoners Dilemma in Congress



1)Committee Assignments are a HUGE deal--> They can’t control the committee leadership by themselves, but they do have the loudest voice

2) Fundraising Abilities--> Leader can have a lot of power to help fundraise for personal fundraising. She can also put them in these organizations that raise money


3) Legislative Process Advantage--> Can give their bill favor in the Legislative process-->Passing a bill with your name on it can help you get reelected. If you are a loyal partisan, they will probably give it to you.



“You can not think about congress unless you think about how parties


Redistricting VS Political Segregation



  1. Census

    2.  Political Gerrymandering

     3.  Political Segregation


Say youhave 2 districts in Colorado, there’s a western district and a eastern district.

-If there is 3 dem 2 rep you have 20 % difference, (60% dem 40%rep)


Census Districts If the lines were divided in half, we would have a moderate democrat

--Theres 5 dem in the northern district and 5 rep. in the south , the difference between them is 100%



Now there is about a 20% difference between the districts on average in the house, proving that the

- Senate is the same

- So back in the 70’s, the difference was 10% difference in voter count.



The Effect of Constituency and Member Polarization in the House



In the house, this causes about 28% of the polarization

In the Senate, it only goes up 14.8%





Party Disparity on Procedural Votes



1)   Constituency based explanations cannot alone account for the increase in party polarization

2)   Party polarization is best understood as a complex situation with lots of causes and lots of implications

3)    Procedural Polarization is Probably a more apt title than party polarization




McKelvey’s Chaos Theorem -



in multiple dimensional settings, there is no Condorcet winner, anything can happen, and whoever controls the order of voting can determine the final outcome.




  • if  you have 3 dimension makers, 2 dimensions,  and a series of paralyzed votes, they can arrive at any point in the universe(chaos).




  • If more than two actors are deciding on a policy that takes place along more than one dimension, there is no motion that can't be beaten by another via majority rule.

  • In multidimensional voting settings, there is generally no Condorcet winner. The agenda can be manipulated (i.e, order of motions) in such a way that any point in the policy space can be reached through majority voting.





is a method of working by adding to a project using many small (often unplanned),incremental changes instead of a few (extensively planned) large jumps.


slow change to a policy



2. successive limited comparison


says that Median Voter Theorem (which takes all this info, doesn’t mirror his experience in decision making) and that the way things happen in organization is more of a muddling through .


rational comprehensive model (root) exhaustive :

considering every single option to change the policy because you want to fix it completely


politcal science formula

y = a + bx + e



y : dependent variable

e : error (not under control)

a + b : constituents

x : independent variable

a +bx : systematic formula


punctuated equilibrium
  • negative feedback :

    • happens within subsystems

    • incremental change

    • equal it out

    • public not involved



  • positive feedback

    • public gets involved

    • nonincremental




  • expand the conflict


political theories

1. Satisficing - your goal is not to change stuff, but enough change to satisfy a majority of people

2. Garbage Cans : if the politician doesnt have experience the policy wont change, and if they do it will stay constant

3. Streams : problems, policies, politics can all create a policy window with related topics

- can come together

- unrelated--no solution

related- creates new policy


4. Policy Window

- open for a short time

- problem, policies, and politics go together


5. Policy Entrepreneur

- manufacturer of the policy window

- someone who can enlarge or shrink a policy window, control over it.

criteria for evaluating models

(1) Clarity of Assumptions : Process, Outcomes

How clear is everything? Models that are clear in their assumptions, are better.


(2) Accuracy :  Makes sure the answers we get mirror the real world. if it always gives us wrong answers it meaningless.


(3) Generalizability : Social Scientists love when your model can be applied to anything, like what you’re gonna eat for dinner

(4) Surprise :  Its useful if it gives us answers we wouldn’t be able to figure out

(5)Simplicity : If the model that has 25 variables is just as good as the one with 5 variables, we will always go for the most simple.

  • She found that the significance of the effect of gender has decreased over time. By the 108th Congress, it is no longer a significant predictor of ideology.

  • Republican women’s votes are becoming more like Republican men’s, and female Republicans are significantly more moderate.


But there are still some issues, mainly those of special concern to women (abortion, civil rights, etc.) in which gender continues to play a significant role






a. congress imposes opportunity costs on the president,

b. varies by chamber, president has more discretion in the house, but more costs in the senate.

c. depends on whether its a united or divided government



1987 congress : 19% catholics and 74% protestants




112th congress : 29% catholics and 57% protestants

positive-negative relationship

its the systematic political formula



if Y goes up, X goes up


if Y goes down, X goes down



Newt Gingrich elected in 1978. Was Carter’s midterm, and Dems had an almost 2/1 advantage.



created the : conservative opportunity society

him and his friends thought that the only way they could retake congress was to ruin the House of Reps in the eyes of the public, so they would jump on whatever issues they could to make the House of Reps look bad.


made the house a more polarizing place!

-GOP would not have gained control without Newt. His methods were much more polarizing and caused a gradual snowball effect on Conservativism of congressman


- All republicans become more conservative over time.

-Gingrich began going out an actively recruiting Conservatives to run against Democrats. He also helped them raise money.


- If you had a connection to Newt, you were more Conservative. If you didn’t, you were more moderate.


- So Republicans get more and more conservative with time, and this bleeds into the Senate.


- Same type of politics practiced in the House went to the Senate with these members…….


3 characteristics of gingrich senators

1 - Republicans

2 - Elected after 1978

3 - Served in the House with Newt Gingrich before moving on to Senate




theres 41 Gingrich senators currently!

G.S are 49% more conservative!

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