The long and short of it is this: people in Congress want to re-elected, and the vast majority of their behavior can be understood as contributing to their re-election efforts in one way or another. To use political science jargon, this is a rati Mayhew's book on Congress is considered a classic of political science literature.
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To use political science jargon, this is a rational choice theory of how Congress operates. There are essentially three ways a Congress-person pursues this goal: advertising, which encompasses not just standard political advertising but any effort that is likely to increase their name ID among the electorate; credit-claiming, or finding ways to plausibly take ownership of stuff like pork-barrel spending in their district or other benefits from legislation; and position-taking, or stating a stance on an issue that should gain them votes in their district because it is popular with a constituency--no action is necessary for this to be effective.
Just holding the position is enough. As someone that spent a number of years working in a legislative office and on campaigns, I can say that most of this felt pretty much correct to me. There is nothing wrong with these activities per se, and we have created a system that incentivizes officeholders to act in the ways they do. Even decades after it was first published, this text remains a good foundation for gaining insight into Congressional prerogatives. Easy to grasp. Mayhew assumes individual utility maximization in congress and as such, assumes that reelection is always at the top of the congressman's list of goals.
After all, one must hold office in order to accomplish anything else. He summarizes three activities MCs do in order to accomplish their goals: advertising, "any effort to disseminate one's name among constituents Nov 18, B rated it liked it Shelves: historical , non-fiction. You know it. Please, spare me. Though the book taught me a lot it wasn't a special read, like most books tackling a dry subject. C'mon, political sciencers of the world! If us English kids can write acclaimed books on grammar, you can surely step up your congress educating game!
May 23, Micheal Hoffman rated it liked it. This book is requires if you're studying American politics.
While a good read and decent argument, it oversimplifies much of how Congress works. It ignores the role of parties in setting the agenda. It fails to develop the other goals legislators might have that are secondary to seeking reelection and under what circumstances these might become primary goals. Apr 02, Alex Nelson rated it liked it Shelves: political-science. While revolutionary for its time, this book's thesis has been refined by later scholars.
It's mostly cited to credit Mayhew with the recognition a legislator's motivation is largely to get re-elected. This book's mostly qualitative, not quantitative in the modern sense of the word May 03, Luke rated it it was amazing. A poli sci classic in understanding Congressional behavior.
Remember all those times you've sat confused and concerned, trying to understand why legislators act as they do? Check this book out, and at only pages you should finish it quickly.
Elections and Technology
Nov 09, Neil rated it really liked it Shelves: political-science. Mayhew's classic work on Congress. He posits that members of congress are rational actors who main goal is re-election and the body of Congress is organized to facilitate this goal. You can quibble with his assumptions, but you cannot deny the book's influence over the past 35 years. Dec 21, C. Scholarly writing is such a challenge for this reader This volume has value to be sure, but is looking more and more out of date since the Republican Revolution days of Newt Gingrich.
Congress still works like this in some ways, but a lot has changed. Oct 01, Katy rated it really liked it. Must read for any political science student in the United States. Mayhew's seminal work is not as applicable with strengthening parties; however, it is still a good purposive study of congressional motivations and actions. Oct 15, Alex Mark rated it really liked it. The essential work about how and why Congress works. I read the first half in school and I enjoyed the second half, though it was slightly dated.
He wondered how the Watergate reforms would turn out! Jan 13, Brad Kent rated it it was amazing. Dec 15, Hakija rated it it was amazing. Before this book, understanding of Congressmen and their goals was always a little fuzzy. This is a great little book that changed the way we think about congressional elections. Dec 05, Chery Lyn added it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Jul 08, Sarah Spaulding rated it really liked it. This book is one of the more interesting reads on this subject for me.
Project MUSE - Electoral Incentives in Congress
Jan 06, Kristofer Petersen-Overton rated it really liked it Shelves: An important and quick read. Mayhew influenced a generation of congressional scholars so it's worht reading to know his basic argument. This article examines if the emergence of more partisan media has contributed to political polarization and led Americans to support more partisan policies and candidates.
Congress and some newer media outlets have added more partisan messages to a Each graph divides the American public into those who do not watch either channel, those who watch both, and those who watch only one of Email Share. Jamie L. Carson 1 and Jeffery A.
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