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“Mr. Mayhew, Meet Mr. DeLay,” or the Electoral Connection in the Post-Reform Congress

  • Alan A. Abramowitz (a1)
Abstract

In regard to these member needs the best service a party can supply to its congressmen is a negative one; it can loeave them alone. And this in general is what the congressional parties do. Party leaders are chosen not to be program salesman or vote mobilizers, but to be brokers, favor-doers, agenda-setters, and protectors of established institutional routines. Party “pressure” to vote one way or another is minimal. Party “whipping” hardly deserves the name. (Mayhew 1974, 99–100)

The House Republican Party acted remarkably like the cohesive, responsible party of party government theory. It proposed and ran on a policy agenda; it organized the chamber and empowered its leaders so as to facilitate the expeditious translation of the agenda into law; with the members maintaining high cohesion, the party delivered on its promises. The fragmentation and lack of discipline most observers of American Politics claim to be cardinal characteristics of American political parties were not in evidence. (Sinclair 1998, 263)

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PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
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