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The Challenge Of Congressional Representation

Author: Richard F. Fenno
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674074300
Size: 69.33 MB
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At a moment when Congress is viewed by a skeptical public as hyper-partisan and dysfunctional, Richard Fenno provides a variegated picture of American representational politics. The Challenge of Congressional Representation offers an up-close-and-personal look at the complex relationship between members of Congress and their constituents back home.

Redistricting And Representation

Author: Thomas Brunell
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1135925216
Size: 51.80 MB
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Pundits have observed that if so many incumbents are returned to Congress to each election by such wide margins, perhaps we should look for ways to increase competitiveness – a centerpiece to the American way of life – through redistricting. Do competitive elections increase voter satisfaction? How does voting for a losing candidate affect voters’ attitudes toward government? The not-so-surprising conclusion is that losing voters are less satisfied with Congress and their Representative, but the implications for the way in which we draw congressional and state legislative districts are less straightforward. Redistricting and Representation argues that competition in general elections is not the sine qua non of healthy democracy, and that it in fact contributes to the low levels of approval of Congress and its members. Brunell makes the case for a radical departure from traditional approaches to redistricting – arguing that we need to "pack" districts with as many like-minded partisans as possible, maximizing the number of winning voters, not losers.

Race Redistricting And Representation

Author: David T. Canon
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226092706
Size: 45.66 MB
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Since the creation of minority-dominated congressional districts eight years ago, the Supreme Court has condemned the move as akin to "political apartheid," while many African-American leaders argue that such districts are required for authentic representation. In the most comprehensive treatment of the subject to date, David Canon shows that the unintended consequences of black majority districts actually contradict the common wisdom that whites will not be adequately represented in these areas. Not only do black candidates need white votes to win, but this crucial "swing" vote often decides the race. And, once elected, even the black members who appeal primarily to black voters usually do a better job than white members of walking the racial tightrope, balancing the needs of their diverse constituents. Ultimately, Canon contends, minority districting is good for the country as a whole. These districts not only give African Americans a greater voice in the political process, they promote a politics of commonality—a biracial politics—rather than a politics of difference.

Congressional Travels

Author: Jr Richard F Fenno
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISBN: 1351581783
Size: 15.43 MB
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Written in preeminent legislative studies scholar Richard Fenno's "homespun" story-telling style, Congressional Travels argues that authenticity -- knowing what a representative is like in his/her district and looking beyond mere roll-call voting -- contributes significantly to understanding the full body of work done by our members of Congress. It further posits that the best way to gain a sense of authenticity is to do what Fenno is most famous for, i.e., making multiple trips and spending a great deal of time observing representatives at home in their districts, with their constituents. The book is engaging, quietly provocative, and unique, offering an alternative to what some consider the increasingly specialized and technical nature of political science. This tenth anniversary edition includes an illuminating new Foreword by renowned congressional scholar Morris P. Fiorina, adding to the appreciation of Richard Fenno and this work over the years.

Black Faces Black Interests

Author: Carol M. Swain
Publisher: University Press of Amer
ISBN: 9780761834076
Size: 32.43 MB
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Presented here in an enlarged edition, Black Faces, Black Interests presents persuasive evidence that challenges the notion that only African Americans can represent black interests effectively in Congress. This pivotal work argues for black and white representatives to form coalitions to better serve their constituents.

Candidates And Voters

Author: Walter J. Stone
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1316510212
Size: 64.92 MB
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Candidates and Voters extends our understanding of voting, elections, and representation by elaborating a simple theory of voting choice based on voters' interest in policy and in the suitability of candidates to hold elective office ('leadership valence'). Voters' choices must be understood in the context of the choices between opposing candidates they are offered on these two dimensions. Drawing on extensive analysis of US House races, Stone shows that although voters lack the information that many analysts assume they need to function in a democracy, they are most often able to choose the better candidate on the policy and valence dimensions. In addition, candidates, when they decide whether and how to run, anticipate the interests that drive voters. The book shows that elections tend to produce outcomes on policy and leadership valence consistent with voters' interests, and challenges skeptical views of how well the electoral process works.

White Collar Government

Author: Nicholas Carnes
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022608728X
Size: 69.14 MB
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Eight of the last twelve presidents were millionaires when they took office. Millionaires have a majority on the Supreme Court, and they also make up majorities in Congress, where a background in business or law is the norm and the average member has spent less than two percent of his or her adult life in a working-class job. Why is it that most politicians in America are so much better off than the people who elect them— and does the social class divide between citizens and their representatives matter? With White-Collar Government, Nicholas Carnes answers this question with a resounding—and disturbing—yes. Legislators’ socioeconomic backgrounds, he shows, have a profound impact on both how they view the issues and the choices they make in office. Scant representation from among the working class almost guarantees that the policymaking process will be skewed toward outcomes that favor the upper class. It matters that the wealthiest Americans set the tax rates for the wealthy, that white-collar professionals choose the minimum wage for blue-collar workers, and that people who have always had health insurance decide whether or not to help those without. And while there is no one cause for this crisis of representation, Carnes shows that the problem does not stem from a lack of qualified candidates from among the working class. The solution, he argues, must involve a variety of changes, from the equalization of campaign funding to a shift in the types of candidates the parties support. If we want a government for the people, we have to start working toward a government that is truly by the people. White-Collar Government challenges long-held notions about the causes of political inequality in the United States and speaks to enduring questions about representation and political accountability.

The Concept Of Constituency

Author: Andrew Rehfeld
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781139446488
Size: 15.19 MB
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In virtually every democratic nation in the world, political representation is defined by where citizens live. In the United States, for example, Congressional Districts are drawn every 10 years as lines on a map. Why do democratic governments define political representation this way? Are territorial electoral constituencies commensurate with basic principles of democratic legitimacy? And why might our commitments to these principles lead us to endorse a radical alternative: randomly assigning citizens to permanent, single-member electoral constituencies that each looks like the nation they collectively represent? Using the case of the founding period of the United States as an illustration, and drawing from classic sources in Western political theory, this book describes the conceptual, historical, and normative features of the electoral constituency. As an institution conceptually separate from the casting of votes, the electoral constituency is little studied. Its historical origins are often incorrectly described. And as a normative matter, the constituency is almost completely ignored. Raising these conceptual, historical and normative issues, the argument culminates with a novel thought experiment of imagining how politics might change under randomized, permanent, national electoral constituencies. By focusing on how citizens are formally defined for the purpose of political representation, The Concept of Constituency thus offers a novel approach to the central problems of political representation, democratic legitimacy, and institutional design.

Congressional Primaries And The Politics Of Representation

Author: Peter F. Galderisi
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9780742507678
Size: 10.90 MB
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Congressional Primaries and the Politics of Representation explores the ways in which congressional primary elections appear to be changing in the face of electoral and congressional politics. The prominent contributors examine how primary elections influence the types of candidates who run, the support they receive, the positions they take, the resources they spend, the media coverage they receive, and the type of party nominees that prevail. All of these factors have significant implications for congressional general elections, the political parties, interest groups, and the day-to-day representation of constituents by congressional incumbents.

The Changing Face Of Representation

Author: Kim Fridkin
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
ISBN: 0472119230
Size: 59.87 MB
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As the number of women in the U.S. Senate grows, so does the number of citizens represented by women senators. At the same time, gender remains a key factor in senators’ communications to constituents as well as in news media portrayals of senators. Focusing on 32 male and female senators during the 2006 congressional election year, Kim L. Fridkin and Patrick J. Kenney examine in detail senators’ official websites, several thousand press releases and local news stories, and surveys of 18,000 citizens to discern constituents’ attitudes about their senators. The authors conclude that gender role expectations and stereotypes do indeed constrain representational and campaign messages and influence news coverage of both candidates and elected senators. Further, while citizens appear to be less influenced by entrenched stereotypes, they pay more attention to female senators’ messages and become more knowledgeable about them, in comparison to male senators.