Download Issue Politics in Congress by Tracy Sulkin PDF

By Tracy Sulkin

Do representatives and senators reply to the opinions raised by way of their challengers? This examine, exploring how legislators' reports as applicants form their next habit as policymakers, demonstrates that successful legislators on a regular basis soak up their challengers' precedence concerns from the final crusade and act on them. This attentiveness to their challengers' matters displays a common and systematic but mostly unrecognized mode of responsiveness within the U.S. Congress. Tracy Sulkin unearths the real merits for those legislators in addition to the wellbeing and fitness and legitimacy of the consultant approach.

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Introducing a bill or resolution sends a clear signal that a given issue is important enough to the legislator that he or she is willing to devote a relatively high amount of attention to it and attach his or her name to it. This is important in a setting like Congress, where P1: JZZ 0521855217c02 CUNY110B/Sulkin 36 0 521 85521 7 August 14, 2005 16:0 Issue Politics in Congress most outcomes are the result of collective action and it can be difficult to carve out an individual reputation. Schiller’s (1995, 2000) analysis of representation in Senate delegations focuses in particular on this point.

Therefore, despite the intuitive appeal of the inoculation hypothesis, the predictions of the more dynamic electoral selection hypothesis accord equally well with our knowledge of how legislators actually behave. As should be clear, these alternative hypotheses about the relationship between vulnerability and responsiveness have very different normative implications for how we assess the role of elections in encouraging responsiveness. If the inoculation hypothesis is accurate and the most vulnerable engage in the most uptake, then maintaining competition in congressional elections is of utmost importance because the safer legislators are, the less responsive they will be to their constituents’ interests.

I explore the intensity with which legislators pursue their challenger-themed legislation compared to the other legislation in their portfolios and trace the eventual fates of both types of legislation, demonstrating that individual legislators’ decisions about responsiveness have important downstream consequences for public policy. Finally, I conclude in Chapter 9 by summarizing the important results and returning to the normative implications of these findings for our understanding of representation and responsiveness, and of the linkages between campaigns and governance.

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