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The Deinstitutionalization (?) of the House of Representatives: Reflections on Nelson Polsby's “The Institutionalization of the U.S. House of Representatives” at Fifty

  • Jeffery A. Jenkins (a1) and Charles Stewart (a2)
Abstract

This article revisits Nelson Polsby's classic article “The Institutionalization of the U.S. House of Representatives” fifty years after its publication, to examine whether the empirical trends that Polsby identified have continued. This empirical exploration allows us to place Polsby's findings in broader historical context and to assess whether the House has continued along the “institutionalization course”—using metrics that quantify the degree to which the House has erected impermeable boundaries with other institutions, created a complex institution, and adopted universalistic decision-making criteria. We empirically document that careerism plateaued right at the point Polsby wrote “Institutionalization,” and that the extension of the careerism trend has affected Democrats more than Republicans. The House remains complex, but lateral movement between the committee and party leadership systems began to reestablish itself a decade after “Institutionalization” was published. Finally, the seniority system as a mechanism for selecting committee chairs—the primary measure of universalistic decision-making criteria—has been almost thoroughly demolished. Thus, most of the trends Polsby identified have moderated, but have not been overturned. We conclude by considering the larger set of interpretive issues that our empirical investigation poses.

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1. Polsby, Nelson W., “The Institutionalization of the U.S. House of Representatives,” American Political Science Review 62 (1968): 144–68; Polsby, Nelson W., Gallaher, Miriam, and Rundquist, Barry Spencer, “The Growth of the Seniority System in the U.S. House of Representatives,” American Political Science Review 63 (1969): 787807; Polsby, Nelson W., “Legislatures,” in Handbook of Political Science, vol. 5, ed. Greenstein, Fred I. and Polsby, Nelson W. (Reading, MA : Addison-Wesley, 1975).

2. As an aside, a related way to think about the anniversary of Polsby's articles is in terms of the cloudburst of early articles about the history of Congress that appeared about this time and have continued to influence the field to this day. In addition to Polsby's two APSR articles, the other seminal articles that bear reflection after half a century are Abram, Michael and Cooper, Joseph, “The Rise of Seniority in the House of Representatives,” Polity 1 (1968): 5285; and Price, H. Douglas, “Congress and the Evolution of Legislative Professionalism,” in Congress in Change: Evolution and Reform, ed. Ornstein, Norman J. (New York: Praeger, 1975). One could add to this Young, James Sterling, The Washington Community (New York: Columbia University Press, 1966), which has been ably reconsidered by William Minozzi and Gregory A. Caldeira, “Social Influence in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1800–1861” (presentation, Annual Congress and History Conference, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, 2015).

3. Polsby's formulation of institutionalization in the 1968 article appears in the “Legislatures” essay at p. 289, as he skeptically considers the role that the system of 1896 played in kicking off the rise of institutionalization in the U.S. House.

4. Polsby, “Legislatures,” 277.

5. Ibid., 277–78.

6. Mayhew, David R., “Congress as a Handler of Challenges: The Historical Record,” Studies in American Political Development” 29 (2015): 185212; Mayhew, David R., The Imprint of Congress (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2017).

7. For example, Campbell, Angus, Converse, Philip E., Miller, Warren E., and Stokes, Donald E., The American Voter (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960).

8. Miller, Warren E. and Stokes, Donald E., “Constituency Influence in Congress,” American Political Science Review 57 (1963): 4556; Kingdon, John W., Congressmen's Voting Decisions (New York: Harper and Row, 1973).

9. Truman, David B., The Congressional Party: A Case Study (New York: Wiley, 1959); Matthews, Donald R., U.S. Senators and Their World (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1960); Huitt, Ralph K., “The Outsider in the Senate: An Alternative Role,” American Political Science Review 55 (1961): 566–75; Fenno, Richard F. Jr., The Power of the Purse (Boston: Little, Brown, 1966); Huitt, Ralph K. and Peabody, Robert L., Congress: Two Decades of Analysis (New York: Harper & Row, 1969).

10. Polsby attributed this trend specifically to Ralph Huitt's work.

11. Mayhew, David R., Congress: The Electoral Connection (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1974), emphasis in original.

12. For an organization theory approach to the emergence and development of the standing committee system in the House, see Cooper, Joseph, Origins of the Standing Committees and the Development of the Modern House (Houston, TX: Rice University Press, 1970).

13. Downs, Anthony, An Economic Theory of Democracy (New York: Harper, 1957); Black, Duncan, The Theory of Committees and Elections (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1958); Buchanan, James A. and Tullock, Gordon, The Calculus of Consent: Logical Foundations of Constitutional Democracy (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1962); Riker, William H., The Theory of Political Coalitions (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1962); Olson, Mancur, The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1965).

14. Fenno, Richard F. Jr., Congressmen in Committees (Boston: Little, Brown, 1973); Mayhew, Congress.

15. Fenno, Power of the Purse; David R. Mayhew, Party Loyalty among Congressmen: The Difference between Democrats and Republicans, 1947–1962 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).

16. Fenno, Congressmen in Committees; Mayhew, Congress.

17. Sarah Binder similarly notes the shift from sociology to economics around this time and the attendant turn in both normative and empirical approaches to Congress among scholars. Binder, Sarah A., “Challenges ahead for Legislative Studies,” Legislative Studies Quarterly 40 (2015): 511.

18. Polsby, “Institutionalization,” 144.

19. Ibid.

20. Ibid.

21. Ibid., 145.

22. By the most common contemporary metric of intellectual influence, the number of citations to a work in Google Scholar, “Institutionalization” remains the most influential article about the internal organization of Congress written in the 1960s, cited 437 times since 2010. This is in contrast with Fenno's Power of the Purse (cited 236 times) and Mayhew's Party Loyalty among Congressmen (43). The only study about Congress written in the 1960s that exceeds “Institutionalization” in influence is Miller and Stokes, “Constituency Influence,” an article about the relationship between members and their constituents, which has been cited 1,010 times since 2010.

23. Gilligan, Thomas W. and Krehbiel, Keith, “Collective Decision-Making and Standing Committees: An Informational Rationale for Restrictive Amendment Procedures,” Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization 3 (1987): 145–93. Gilligan, Thomas W. and Krehbiel, , “Asymmetric Information and Legislative Rules with a Heterogeneous Committee,” American Journal of Political Science 33 (1989): 459–90; Gilligan, Thomas W. and Krehbiel, Keith, “Organization of Informative Committees by a Rational Legislature,” American Journal of Political Science 34 (1990): 531–64; Keith Krehbiel, Information and Legislative Organization (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press).

24. David Mayhew provides a different type of approach to assessing the institutional capacity of Congress, in his examination of how Congress performed during thirteen major “impulses” of significant policy development throughout American history. Mayhew is not focused on institutional capacity, as we are. His analysis calls into question whether Congress needs to be institutionalized to have constructive influence on the path of national policymaking. We address this point in the conclusion. See Mayhew, “Congress as a Handler,” and Mayhew, Imprint of Congress.

25. Polsby, “Institutionalization,” 145.

26. In light of the 2016 presidential election, it is hard to ignore the observation that the establishment of boundaries in Polsby's terms between the House and other institutions in society may be counter to the House being an effective conduit of popular sentiments into the federal government.

27. Polsby, “Institutionalization,” 146.

28. Figure 1 compares Polsby's time line with data constructed from the McKibbin Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) data set (Study no. 7803), https://www.icpsr.umich.edu (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, and McKibbin, Carroll. Roster of United States Congressional Officeholders and Biographical Characteristics of Members of the United States Congress, 1789-1996: Merged Data. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1997-07-29. ICPSR Study No. 7803. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR07803.v10), updated by the authors. (The membership data may be downloaded from Garrison Nelson, Committees in the U.S. Congress, 1947–1992, http://web.mit.edu/17.251/www/data_page.html.) We also plot data reported by Morris P. Fiorina, David W. Rohde, and Peter Wissel, “Historical Change in House Turnout,” in Congress in Change: Evolution and Reform, ed. Norman J. Ornstein (New York: Praeger, 1975). The updated data analysis we conducted did not take into account the Fiorina, Rohde, and Wissel critique (“Historical Change in House Turnout”) of Polsby's method of measuring the percentage of House members who were first term. In particular, they noted that the period of the greatest membership turnout was also the period of greatest growth in the size of the House of Representatives, both due to population growth and the admission of new states. Therefore, a correction in the denominator should be made for the new seats added due to admissions and reapportionment. We have not made that correction here, because of our interest in replicating Polsby's analysis, and because making the correction would not alter the overall contour of Polsby's (and our) argument. The data used to construct Figure 1 are included in Table A1 of the supplemental appendix to this article.

29. It appears that the y-axis in Polsby's Figure 2 is mislabeled. As a comparison of his Figure 2 with the Figure 2 displayed in this article, it is clear that Polsby's measure of average length of service was expressed in units of terms served rather than years.

30. Figure 1 and 2, as well as the others in this article, follow Polsby's graphing conventions, because this allows us to address Polsby's argument most directly. For the figures that do not replicate Polsby's, we follow more modern graphing conventions.

31. Erikson, Robert S., “The Advantage of Incumbency in Congressional Elections,” Polity 3 (1971): 395495; Alford, John R. and Hibbing, John R., “Increased Incumbency Advantage in the House,” Journal of Politics 43 (1981): 1042–61; Gelman, Andrew and King, Gary, “Estimating Incumbency Advantage without Bias,” American Journal of Political Science 34 (1990): 1142–64; Cox, Gary W. and Katz, Jonathan N., “Why Did the Incumbency Advantage in U.S. House Elections Grow?American Journal of Political Science 40 (1996): 478–97; Levitt, Steven J. and Wolfram, Catherine D., “Decomposing the Sources of Incumbency Advantage in the U.S. House,” Legislative Studies Quarterly 22 (1997): 4560; Ansolabehere, Stephen, Snyder, James M. Jr., and Stewart, Charles III, “Old Voters, New Voters, and the Personal Vote: Using Redistricting to Measure the Incumbency Advantage,” American Journal of Political Science 44 (2000): 1734.

32. Burnham, Walter Dean, “Insulation and Responsiveness in Congressional Elections,” Political Science Quarterly 90 (1975): 411–35; King, Gary and Gelman, Andrew, “Systematic Consequences of Incumbency Advantage in U.S. House Elections,” American Journal of Political Science 35 (1991): 110–38; Ansolabehere, Stephen, Brady, David, and Fiorina, Morris, “The Vanishing Marginals and Electoral Responsiveness,” British Journal of Political Science 22 (1992): 2138.

33. Fiorina, Morris P., Congress: Keystone of the Washington Establishment (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1977).

34. Detailed analysis to justify this point is contained in the supplemental appendix.

35. A back-of-the-envelope calculation shows how quickly these differences can compound. The percentages in the previous paragraph are consistent with 80 percent of Republicans and 85 percent of Democrats being returned each Congress to the next. We can calculate the “half-life” of each party caucus in each Congress by solving for t in the equation pt = .5, where p equals the return rate. With an 80 percent return rate, the half-life of the Republicans in one Congress is 3.11 terms; with an 85 percent return rate, the half-life of the Democrats in one Congress is 4.27 terms. This calculation, of course, is no more than a heuristic, since it assumes that members return from one Congress to the next randomly, based solely on the return-rate probability. The calculation is nonetheless valuable for making the point.

36. Young, Washington Community; Price, H. Douglas, “The Congressional Career Then and Now,” in Congressional Behavior, ed. Polsby, Nelson W. (New York: Random House, 1971); Bullock, Charles S., “House Careerists: Changing Patterns of Longevity and Attrition,” American Political Science Review 66 (1972): 12951300; Fiorina et al., “Historical Change”; Kernell, Samuel, “Toward Understanding 19th Century Congressional Careers: Ambition, Competition, and Rotation,” American Journal of Political Science 21 (1977): 669–93; Cover, Albert D., “Seniority in the House: Patterns and Projections,” American Politics Quarterly 11 (1983): 429–40; Katz, Jonathan N. and Sala, Brian R., “Careerism, Committee Assignments, and the Electoral Connection,” American Political Science Review 90 (1996): 2133; Brady, David, Buckley, Kara, and Rivers, Douglas, “The Roots of Careerism in the U.S. House of Representatives,” Legislative Studies Quarterly 24 (1999): 489510; Palmer, Barbara and Simon, Dennis, “Political Ambition and Women in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1916–2000,” Political Research Quarterly 56 (2003): 127–38; Engstrom, Erik J. and Kernell, Samuel, “Manufactured Responsiveness: The Impact of State Electoral Laws on Unified Party Control of the Presidency and House of Representatives, 1840–1940,” American Journal of Political Science 49 (2005): 531–49.

37. For more on the behavior of House Republicans, see Murakami, Michael H., “Minority Status, Ideology, or Opportunity: Explaining the Greater Retirement of House Republicans,” Legislative Studies Quarterly 34 (2009): 219–44.

38. Strictly speaking, this latter trend—the separation of committee and party leadership tracks—should be considered a marker of the growing institutional complexity of the House and a more finely delineated division of labor.

39. As of the writing of this article, it appears that the ninth Speaker, Paul Ryan, escaped the fate of his predecessor, although it is reasonable to speculate whether Ryan would have been reelected Speaker had he sought reelection to the 116th Congress and the Republicans had retained control of the House.

40. It has been suggested to us that the greater turnover in Speakers may be due to the greater expectations on the office, in the world of heightened focus on party. If so, then what appears to be an ad hoc system of grooming future party leaders for the future speakership would be an indicator of a decline in institutionalization as power has shifted from committees to parties.

41. By “leadership of the party” we mean moving from the chair of a committee to being majority leader or from ranking member to being minority leader. About the interaction between party and committee leadership from the Civil War to the early twentieth century, see Jenkins, Jeffery A. and Stewart, Charles III, Fighting for the Speakership: The House and the Rise of Party Government (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013).

42. And of course, Hastert is the exception that proves the rule. Hastert became Speaker upon the resignation of Speaker-designate Bob Livingston (R-LA). Livingston, who had been chosen to replace Gingrich after he stepped down following the 1998 election, was the chair of the House Appropriations Committee at the time. However, after Livingston secured the nomination of the Republican Conference, it was revealed that he had been involved in several extramarital affairs. This led to Livingston's resignation from the House (and thus the speakership). Hastert, a protégé of Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX), was chosen instead. Thus, had Livingston never been ensnared in his own sex scandal on the eve of the Clinton impeachment vote, there would have been no exception to the pipeline from committee leadership to the speakership mentioned here. For a succinct summary of the machinations that led to Hastert's nomination as speaker, see Adam Cohen, “The Speaker Who Never Was,” CNN.com, December 21, 1998, http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/time/1998/12/21/livingston.html.

43. In 2015 Politico provided a detailed glimpse into Hastert's financial dealings: Tarini Parti, “How Dennis Hastert Made His Millions,” Politico, May 29, 2015, http://www.politico.com/story/2015/05/dennis-hastert-how-he-made-income-118414.

A more general point could be made here, which is that the post-House careers of Speakers Gingrich and Hastert highlight a more general phenomenon of the revolving door now including all members of Congress, and not just congressional staff. It is certainly true that more former members of the House stay in the DC area after they retire than in the nineteenth century, and probably more stay now than in the 1960s, though it is very difficult to know this for sure.

44. Forbes reported in 2011, for instance, that Gingrich had assembled a “$100 million gaggle of businesses” and an annual income of $2.5 million. Peter Cohan, “Newt's $100 Million Gingrich Industrial Complex,” Forbes, November 28, 2011, http://www.forbes.com/sites/petercohan/2011/11/28/newts-100-million-gingrich-industrial-complex-2/#5f7511181d6d.

45. In this regard, the 2016 presidential primary season suggests that perhaps the presidency itself is not immune to lateral movement.

46. Canon, David T., Nelson, Garrison, and Stewart, Charles III, Committees in the United States Congress, 1789–1946, 4 vols. (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2002).

47. Deering, Christopher J. and Smith, Steven S., Committee in Congress (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 1997); King, David C., Turf Wars: How Congressional Committees Claim Jurisdictions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997).

48. On the common mistake of attributing the rise of the standing committee system to Clay himself, see both Young, Washington Community; and Stewart, Charles III, “Architect or Tactician? Henry Clay and the Institutional Development of the U.S. House of Representatives,” in Process, Party, and Policy Making: New Advances in the Study of the History of Congress, ed. Brady, David W. and McCubbins, Mathew D. (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006).

49. Kenneth Shepsle can be credited with coining the term “textbook Congress.” See Kenneth A. Shepsle, “The Changing Textbook Congress,” in Can the Government Govern? ed. John E. Chubb and Paul E. Peterson (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press).

50. Polsby, “Institutionalization,” 156.

51. The literature on committees since 1968 is, of course, immense, and includes one of the most influential works in the history of congressional studies: Fenno, Congressmen in Committees. For a catalogue of this literature, see Nelson, Garrison and Stewart, Charles III, Committees in the United States Congress, 1993–2010 (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2010).

52. Prior to 1975, bills introduced in the House could only be referred to one committee. In that year, the House changed its rules, allowing the Speaker to refer a bill to multiple committees, either simultaneously or sequentially. In 1977, the rules were changed to allow the Speaker to set a deadline for a committee to act, a practice sometimes referred to as “Speaker discharge.” On multiple referrals and Speaker discharge, see Collie, Melissa P. and Cooper, Joseph, “Multiple Referral and the ‘New’ Committee System in the House of Representatives,” in Congress Reconsidered, 4th ed., ed. Dodd, Lawrence C. and Oppenheimer, Bruce I. (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 1989); Davidson, Roger H., Oleszek, Walter J., and Kephart, Thomas, “One Bill, Many Committees: Multiple Referrals in the U.S. House of Representatives,” Legislative Studies Quarterly 13 (1988): 328; Oleszek, Walter J., Congressional Procedures and the Policy Process, 6th ed. (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2004): 8485.

53. Stewart, Charles III, Analyzing Congress, 2nd ed. (New York: W.W. Norton, 2011); Sinclair, Barbara, Unorthodox Lawmaking: New Legislative Processes in the U.S. Congress, 4th ed. (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2011).

54. Polsby, “Institutionalization,” 158.

55. Jenkins and Stewart, Fighting for the Speakership, 317–18.

56. Polsby, “Institutionalization,” 158.

57. In Jenkins and Stewart, Fighting for the Speakership, we recount how in the nineteenth century, the House Printer and Clerk controlled significant patronage and spending authority. It is in fact possible to argue that at one point, the House Clerk's budget was greater than the entire current budget of the House of Representatives, when calculated in real terms. The Printer had a major role in the funding of local newspapers throughout the United States, particularly those with partisan affiliations, who benefitted from the requirement that the laws of Congress be printed in newspapers. These offices were scaled back significantly around the Civil War, but for different reasons. The House and Senate printers’ functions were transferred to the newly created Government Printing Office on the eve of the Civil War, and the House regularly scaled back the appropriation afforded the Clerk in the antebellum period. In addition, the creation of the General Accounting Office in 1909, while not dedicated to the work of the House and kept at arm's length from Congress through the presidential appointment of the Comptroller General, was also a significant institution that should be credited in part to the House's pre-1968 institutional capacity.

58. Polsby's Table 6 is updated in Table A3 in the supplemental appendix.

59. The deflator is based on the report of the historical CPI-U series reported on the website of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Consumer Price Index, 1913– (CPI-U), https://www.minneapolisfed.org/community/teaching-aids/cpi-calculator-information/consumer-price-index-and-inflation-rates-1913.

60. It has been suggested to us that partisanship has intervened in the ability of Congress to approve “big projects” related to the Capitol campus, with Democrats more likely to approve them than Republicans. While it is true that real spending for the House of Representatives described in Figure 5 has been greater when Democrats controlled the House since 1995 ($1.5b vs. $1.2b), this does not undermine the point that real spending resumed it secular upward trend once the “Gingrich retrenchment” was imposed.

61. The statistics used here are from Tables 5-2, 5-3, and 5-6 in Norman J. Ornstein, Thomas E. Mann, and Andrew Rugg, Vital Statistics on Congress (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution and American Enterprise Institute) and the 2017 online update published by the Brookings Institution. The different reference years in the text reflect the data available in these tables. The rule for calculating percentage changes was to use the year closest to 1967 as the base and to compare that to the last year of the reported series.

62. Frances Lee notes that the expanded party staff are disproportionately involved in communicating the party's message to the outside world, which may be beneficial to the electoral fortunes of the parties, but is not clearly related to building capacity to construct better legislation. See Frances E. Lee, “Legislative Parties in an Era of Alternating Majorities,” in Governing in a Polarized Age, ed. Alan S. Gerber and Eric Schickler (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017).

63. Polsby, “Institutionalization,” 160.

64. In reading “Institutionalization” carefully, it appears that Polsby largely just assumes that seniority involves the selection of the most senior majority party member of a committee. As we suggest in our recent analysis of the history of speakership elections (Jenkins and Stewart, Fighting for the Speakership), this is too important a point just to be assumed. However, for the sake of brevity, we adopt this assumption in our analysis here.

65. Jenkins and Stewart, Fighting for the Speakership.

66. A full consideration of Polsby's analysis of the rise of seniority must include his companion piece, Polsby et al., “The Growth of the Seniority System.” That piece is important intellectually for distinguishing the rote application of seniority with the possibility that seniority violations might be “compensated” for a variety of reasons. The analysis of compensated seniority violations is later taken up by Gary W. Cox and Mathew D. McCubbins, Legislative Leviathan: Party Government in the House (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993). For the present, we focus here on Polsby's initial analysis, leaving for future work the incorporation of the more nuanced analysis in the 1969 article.

67. Polsby also reported raw data in his Table 7, which we update and report in Table A4 in the supplemental appendix.

68. This research is reflected in Garrison Nelson, Committees in the U.S. Congress, 1947–1992 (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 1993); Canon et al., Committees in the United States Congress, 1789–1946; Nelson and Stewart, Committees in the United States Congress, 1993–2010. In addition, some of this analysis was brought up to the present using the Stewart and Woon committee data file found at Nelson, Committees in the U.S. Congress, 1947–1992, http://web.mit.edu/17.251/www/data_page.html.

69. The LRA passed in the 79th Congress and was implemented in the 80th Congress. Thus, the period covered by data from the 77th–81st Congress primarily reflects the pre-LRA House. Below we show the time series by Congress, in which this post-LRA discontinuity is quite pronounced.

70. This is again another case in which our analysis, based on the newer data sets, diverges from Polsby.

71. Unanalyzed here is a related phenomenon that we have noticed when we have informally examined the complete committee lists, which is that the overall seniority ranking often violates strict seniority, even after taking into account the term limits for chairs. We have made preliminary inquiries on Capitol Hill about why this practice has developed and have received no firm answers in reply, only acknowledgments that others have noticed this, too.

72. Cann, Damon M., “Modeling Committee Chair Selection in the U.S. House of Representatives,” Political Analysis 16 (2008): 274–89.

73. Polsby also provided the data for his figure, which we have updated and reported in Table A5 in the supplemental appendix. For a list of sources, see Jenkins, Jeffery A., “Partisanship and Contested Election Cases in the House of Representatives, 1789–2002,” Studies in American Political Development 18 (2004): 112–35. To those sources, we also add Whitaker, L. Paige, “Contested Election Cases in the House of Representatives, 1933–2011,” CRS Report for Congress, Report #7-5700 (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 2011).

74. Polsby, “Institutionalization,” 163.

75. Garber, Marie and Frank, Abe, Contested Elections and Recounts I: Issues and Options in Resolving Disputed Federal Elections (Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse on Election Administration, 1990). Specifically, the framework involves the case being referred to the Committee on House Administration, which investigates the complaint and subsequently makes a recommendation to the chamber. A decision on the case is then made by the full House.

76. Whitaker, “Contested Election Cases,” p. 1.

77. Lewis Deschler et al., Deschler-Brown-Johnson-Sullivan Precedents of the United States House of Representatives, Vol. 18, 94th Congress, 2d Session, House Document No. 94–661 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office), 525. https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CDOC-94hdoc661/pdf/CDOC-94hdoc661.pdf

78. Polsby, “Institutionalization,” 163.

79. This analysis is based on and extends Jenkins, “Partisanship and Contested Election Cases.”

80. In terms of methodology, the party model is a basic logistic regression, where an individual roll call vote is regressed on a member's party affiliation.

81. See Jenkins, “Partisanship and Contested Election Cases,” table 7.

82. The Kunz v. Granata case, in the 72nd Congress (1931), is one example. See Jenkins, “Partisanship and Contested Election Cases,” 119–20.

83. Lee, Frances E., Insecure Majorities: Congress and the Perpetual Campaign (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016).

84. Mayhew, The Imprint of Congress.

85. On this point, see Mayer, Kenneth R. and Canon, David T., The Dysfunctional Congress? The Individual Roots of an Institutional Dilemma (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1999); Mann, Thomas E. and Ornstein, Norman J., The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2006).

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