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The Legislative Branch “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it.

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Presentation on theme: "The Legislative Branch “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Legislative Branch “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.” —Edmund Burke ( )

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3 Congress Representative body Law-making body

4 Virginia PlanNew Jersey Plan Connecticut Compromise

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6 Differences Between the House and Senate HOUSESENATE Minimum age25 years30 years U.S. CitizenshipAt least 7 yearsAt least 9 years Length of term2 years6 years Number per stateDepends on population:  1 per 30,000 in 1789  1 per 690,000 today 2 per state ConstituencyTends to be localBoth local and national

7 The Electoral Connection  Getting elected  Achieving influence in Congress  Making good public policy Members of Congress are faced with three primary goals: “Specifically, I shall conjure up a vision of United States congressmen as single-minded seekers of reelection, see what kinds of activities and goals that implies, and then speculate about how congressmen so motivated are likely to go about building and sustaining legislative institutions and making policy” —David Mayhew, Congress: The Electoral Connection (1974)

8 The Candidate-Centered Campaign Separation of powers Bicameralism Federalism 1. THE INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK What factors have influenced the rise of the candidate-centered campaign? 2. POLITICAL CULTURE 3. CAMPAIGN TECHNOLOGY 4. POLITICAL CLIMATE

9 President House Senate /3 of the Senate is elected every two years by voters within each state The entire House is elected every two years by voters within each congressional district The president is elected every four years by the Electoral College Presidential election years draw in higher turnout. Midterm congressional elections have lower rates of voter turnout

10 Senate 1/3 of the Senate is elected every two years by voters within each state House The entire House is elected every two years by voters within each congressional district President The president is elected every four years by the Electoral College Holding elections in this way— using different timetables and different constituencies— separates the electoral fortunes of members of Congress from one another, and does little to encourage teamwork in campaigning

11 The Candidate-Centered Campaign Separation of powers Bicameralism Federalism 1. THE INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK What factors have influenced the rise of the candidate-centered campaign? 2. POLITICAL CULTURE 3. CAMPAIGN TECHNOLOGY 4. POLITICAL CLIMATE If conditions favor individuals over parties, which individuals benefit most? Incumbents

12 The institution of Congress accommodates needs of its members remarkably well…  Incumbency provides visibility  Congressional privileges (e.g., franking) allows members to advertise their issue positions back home  Political power is decentralized  The seniority system ensures that the value of an incumbent appreciates over time  Electoral success requires little “zero-sum” conflict between members

13 Incumbent House Members Running for Reelection, With reelection rates so high, does this mean that Mayhew is wrong? Do members of Congress still have to make reelection their primary goal?

14 Incumbent House Members Running for Reelection,

15 Reelection Rates of House and Senate Incumbents,

16 Candidate- centered campaigns CONSEQUENCES? Incumbent advantage

17 Consequences? Congress as a whole is unpopular, but incumbents can usually weather the storm. What makes a member of Congress popular at home often involves them acting contrary to the national interest.

18 Confidence in American Institutions, 2010 Source: CNN/USA Today/ Gallup poll, July 8-11, "I am going to read you a list of institutions in American society. Please tell me how much confidence you, yourself, have in each one--a great deal, quite a lot, some, or very little?"

19 Confidence in American Institutions, 2009 Source: CNN/USA Today/ Gallup poll, June 14-17, " I am going to read you a list of institutions in American society. Please tell me how much confidence you, yourself, have in each one--a great deal, quite a lot, some, or very little?"

20 Congressional Approval, “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job?” Americans are far more favorable towards their own member of Congress

21 Congressional Approval, “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job?” Americans are far more favorable towards their own member of Congress

22 Trust in Government What’s Wrong with Congress? Congress: It Doesn’t Work. Let’s Fix It. Kick the Bums Out The Best Congress Money Can Buy Can the public’s distrust of Congress be blamed on the electoral system?

23 Should We Enlarge the U.S. House of Representatives? At first there was 1 member of the House of Representatives for every 30,000 American citizens. Today, with a current population of 300 million, that ratio has increased to about 1:690,000. If we were to restore the original ratio between the House of Representatives and their constituents, it would require increasing the size of the chamber from 435 members (where it has been locked since 1911), to 10,000 members. Has political representation been diluted by population growth?

24 Reapportionment, as Defined by the U.S. Constitution ARTICLE 1, Section 2, Clause 3: Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative;

25 Redrawing District Lines

26 What is Apportionment? Apportionment (or reapportionment), is the process of distributing seats for a legislative body among different sectors of the country by creating constituencies. Typically, this is done proportionally to the population in the individual sectors to prevent unequal representation among different constituencies. In the United States, for example, the 435 seats in the House of Representatives are allotted proportionately between the states, who then create districts for House members to run in. Malapportionment is broad and systematic variance in the size of electoral constituencies resulting in disproportionate representation for a given voter. Source:

27 Redrawing District Lines  What is gerrymandering? Gerrymandering is a term that describes the deliberate rearrangement of the boundaries of congressional districts to influence the outcome of elections.  Where did gerrymandering come from? The original gerrymander was created in 1812 by Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry, who crafted a district for political purposes that looked like a salamander.  What is the purpose of gerrymandering? The purpose of gerrymandering is to either concentrate opposition votes into a few districts to gain more seats for the majority in surrounding districts (called packing), or to diffuse minority strength across many districts (called dilution).  How has Congress regulated redistricting? In 1967, Congress passed a law requiring all U.S. representatives to be elected from single member districts in the system we use today. Congress in 1982 amended the Voting Rights Act to protect the voting rights of protected racial minorities in redistricting. Within those laws, states have great leeway to draw districts, which often leads to gerrymandering. Source:

28 Cracking and Packing Redrawing the balanced electoral districts in this example creates a guaranteed 3-to-1 advantage in representation for the blue voters as 14 red voters are packed into the light green district and the remaining 18 are cracked across the 3 remaining blue districts. Source:

29 Maptitude® for Redistricting is a special edition of Caliper Corporation’s Maptitude GIS for Windows that includes everything you need to build and analyze redistricting plans. As you assign area features to a district, the district boundaries are redrawn and selected attributes are automatically summarized to reflect the district’s characteristics Redistricting Software

30 The Texas Redistricting Case Gerrymandering based solely on race has been ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. However, partisan gerrymandering remains legal. Some argue that Lay’s plan strengthened the GOP majority in the House by as many as 5 seats.

31 Racial Gerrymandering The unusual “earmuff” shape of the 4th Congressional District of Illinois connects two Hispanic neighborhoods while remaining continuous by narrowly tracing Interstate 294. Source:

32 The Fight Over North Carolina’s 12 th Congressional District District lines have been redrawn several times in response to legal challenges. Gerrymandering based solely on race has been ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court under the Fourteenth Amendment, first by Shaw v. Reno (1993) and subsequently by Miller v. Johnson (1995). Partisan gerrymandering remains legal.

33 Rotation in Office Washington, D.C. in the 19 th century was described as a “swampy, mosquito-infested, rural outpost.”

34 A Term Limits Amendment? Section A. No person shall serve in the office of U.S. Representative for more than three terms, but upon ratification of the Term Limits Amendment no person who has held the office of U.S. Representative or who then holds the office shall serve for more than two additional terms. Section B. No person shall serve in the office of U.S. Senator for more than two terms, but upon ratification of the Term Limits Amendment no person who has held the office of U.S. Senator or who then holds the office shall serve more than one additional term. Section C. This article shall have no time limit within which it must be ratified by the legislatures of three- fourths of the several States.

35 RespondentsYesNo Total sample61%21% By party Republican6428 Republican6428 Democrat6030 Democrat6030 Independent5833 Independent5833 By ideology Liberal 5834 Liberal 5834 Moderate6430 Moderate6430 Conservative 6329 Conservative 6329 By race White 6131 White 6131 Black6127 Black6127 By gender Men5735 Men5735 Women6327 Women6327 “Do you think there should be a limit to the number of times a member of the House of Representatives can be elected to a two- year term?” Public Opinion on Term Limits

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39 The Citizen-Legislator Joe the Plumber

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41 More Representative is Not Necessarily Better “If these reforms were put into place, would the public suddenly love Congress? We do not think so. Certain reforms, such as campaign finance reform, may help, since they would diminish the perception that money rules politics in Washington. But the main reason the public is disgruntled with Congress and with politics in Washington is because they are dissatisfied with the processes intrinsic to the operation of a democratic political system - debates, compromises, conflicting information, inefficiency, and slowness. This argument may seem odd on its face, so in the next few paragraphs we provide our interpretation of why the public questions the need for democratic processes.”

42 Congress as a Lawmaking Body In the way it conducts the people’s business; In the way congressional norms and procedures are set; In the way the committee system allocates power and responsibility; In the way laws are passed; Because of the electoral needs of its members, Congress is characterized by individualism and decentralization. We see this: Clearly, these electoral incentives have consequences for Congress as a lawmaking body.

43 TrusteeDelegatePolitico How should members of Congress behave?

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46 Patrick Leahy on the Northeast Dairy Compact “Dairying in Vermont is more than a job or an industry. It is a way of life. Vermont’s landscape is defined by the green pastures and silos that dot the hills. Our agricultural economy depends on the hundreds of millions of dollars dairy farmers bring to the state every year. We all need to ensure that dairying is not only a part of Vermont’s past, but a vital part of Vermont’s future. Our dairy farms, however, will not be able to survive unless they can receive a fair price for the milk they produce. I remain a strong proponent of the Northeast Dairy Compact, the single best tool for getting a fair price for milk out of the market, not from the government. I will also continue to oppose over consolidation in the dairy processing industry. Consumers and farmers benefit when there is competition in our dairy markets.”

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49 The Debate Over Earmarks Total spending in FY07 = $2.8 trillion

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51 Individual Responsiveness vs. Collective Responsibility Increasingly, we have seen the insulation of members of Congress from national political forces—which makes it harder and harder to unseat incumbents once they are elected into office. Candidate-centered campaigns allow members to escape responsibility for Congress’ performance as an institution. As the electoral fates of Congress and the president diverge, so does their incentive to cooperate to get things done. The fragmentation of the legislative process and the committee system often lead to gridlock. What kind of political representation is produced by American electoral politics and how does that representation influence the laws Congress enacts?

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