Why Not Parties?: Party Effects in the United States Senate

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Recent research on the U.S. House of Representatives largely focuses on the effects of partisanship, but the strikingly less frequent studies of the Senate still tend to treat parties as secondary considerations in a chamber that gives its members far more individual leverage than congressmen have. In response to the recent increase in senatorial partisanship, Why Not Parties? corrects this imbalance with a series of original essays that focus exclusively on the effects of parties in the workings of the upper chamber.
Illuminating the growing significance of these effects, the contributors explore three major areas, including the electoral foundations of parties, partisan procedural advantage, and partisan implications for policy. In the process, they investigate such issues as whether party discipline can overcome Senate mechanisms that invest the most power in individuals and small groups; how parties influence the making of legislation and the distribution of pork; and whether voters punish senators for not toeing party lines. The result is a timely corrective to the notion that parties don’t matter in the Senate—which the contributors reveal is far more similar to the lower chamber than conventional wisdom suggests.

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Editorial Reviews

Morris P. Fiorina

 “For nearly two decades legislative scholars have actively researched the extent and nature of party influence in today’s Congress and how it compares with the past. But the lion’s share of research has equated ‘Congress’ with the House of Representatives while largely ignoring the question of party influence in the Senate. This wide-ranging collection of essays goes a long way toward redressing the imbalance.”
Steven S. Smith

“Timely, sophisticated, and well written, this volume contains an unusual number of new and important pieces. There is no comparable book on Senate politics.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226534879
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2008
  • Pages: 282
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Nathan W. Monroe is assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Merced. Jason M. Roberts is assistant professor of political science at the University of Minnesota. David W. Rohde is the Ernestine Friedl Professor of Political Science at Duke University.

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Table of Contents


1    Introduction: Assessing the Impact of Parties in the U.S. Senate
      Nathan W. Monroe, Jason M. Roberts, and David W. Rohde        

Part 1
2    Electoral Accountability, Party Loyalty, and Roll-Call Voting in the U.S. Senate
      Jamie L. Carson    
3    Party and Constituency in the U.S. Senate, 1933–2004
      John Aldrich, Michael Brady, Scott de Marchi, Ian McDonald, Brendan Nyhan, David W. Rohde, and Michael Tofias     
4    Scoring the Senate: Scorecards, Parties, and Roll-Call Votes
      Jason M. Roberts and Lauren Cohen Bell  

Part 2
5    The Senate Whip System: An Exploration
      Erin M. Bradbury, Ryan A. Davidson, and C. Lawrence Evans      
6    Party Loyalty and Discipline in the Individualistic Senate
      Kathryn Pearson    
7    Make Way for the Party: The Rise and Fall of the Senate National Security Committees, 1947–2006
      Linda L. Fowler and R. Brian Law 
8    Agenda Influence and Tabling Motions in the U.S. Senate
      Chris Den Hartog and Nathan W. Monroe 
9    Filibustering and Majority Rule in the Senate: The Contest over Judicial Nominations, 2003–2005
      Gregory Koger      

Part 3
10  Minority-Party Power in the Senate and House of Representatives
      Sean Gailmard and Jeffery A. Jenkins         
11  Catch-22: Cloture, Energy Policy, and the Limits of Conditional Party Government
      Bruce I. Oppenheimer and Marc J. Hetherington    
12  Distributive and Partisan Politics in the U.S. Senate: An Exploration of Earmarks
      Michael H. Crespin and Charles J. Finocchiaro       

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