As the U.S. Congress has steadily evolved since the Founding of our nation, so too has our understanding of the institution. The second edition of New Directions in Congressional Politics offers an accessible overview of the current developments in our understanding of America’s legislative branch. Jamie L. Carson and Michael S. Lynch help students bridge the gap between roles, rules, and outcomes by focusing on a variety of thematic issues: the importance of electoral considerations, legislators’ strategic behavior to accomplish objectives, the unique challenges of Congress as a bicameral institution in a polarized environment, and the often-overlooked policy outputs of the institution.
This book brings together leading scholars of Congress to provide a general overview of the entire field. Each chapter covers the cutting-edge developments on its respective topic. As the political institution responsible for enacting laws, the American public regularly looks to the U.S. Congress to address the important issues of the day. The contributors in this volume help explain why staying atop the research trends helps us better understand these issues in the ever-changing field of American politics.
New to the Second Edition
- New and updated chapters highlighting party recruitment, redistricting, women in Congress, the nationalization of Congressional elections, and the reassertion of Congressional oversight.
- A first look at Congressional-executive relations in the Trump era.
- Updated data through the 2018 Midterm elections.
Part I: Politics and Elections
1. Congressional Elections: Electoral Structure and Political Representation
Erik J. Engstrom
2. Making the Right Bet: The Long-term Consequences of Successful Party Recruitment
Austin Bussing, Maura McDonald and Sarah Treul
3. Recent Developments in Congressional Redistricting
Ryan D. Williamson
4. Women in Congress
Sarina Rhinehart and Michael H. Crespin
5. Congress and the Nationalization of Congressional Elections
Jamie L. Carson, Jason M. Roberts and Rachel Porter
Part II: Institutions
6. Parties and Polarization in Congress
Danielle M. Thomsen
7. Change and Continuity for Committees in Congress
James M. Curry
8. The Erosion of "Regular Order" in the U.S. House: A Historical Examination of Special Rules
Michael S. Lynch, Anthony J. Madonna and Allison S. Vick
9. The U.S. Senate: Chamber at a Crossroads
10. The Challenges of Partisan Conflict for Lawmaking in Congress
Part III: Policy Process
11. Congress and the Executive in the Age of Trump
Josh M. Ryan
12. New Directions in Congressional Politics Research on Judicial Selection
13. The "Flip-Side" of Delegation: Examining Congressional Reassertion Efforts
Justin Peck and Jeffery A. Jenkins
14. Historical Lessons from the Study of Congress
15. Congressional Reform: Lessons of the Past for Today’s Reform Efforts
Patrick Rickert and Steven S. Smith
Praise for New Directions in Congressional Politics
"This is a book that lives up to its title. Many edited collections merely involve summaries of other scholars' research, but this one offers original work and new perspectives on a wide range of topics, from historical analysis to the most contemporary congressional context. New Directions in Congressional Politics will be useful to undergraduate students and professional researchers alike."
—David W. Rohde, Duke University
"New Directions in Congressional Politics is a fine new collection of essays, many by leading younger congressional scholars, that collectively provide a thorough and accessible account of what political scientists know about the House and Senate."
—Gary Jacobson, University of California San Diego
"New Directions in Congressional Politics is an impressive volume, offering a superb lineup of congressional experts who have been central to building the corpus of scholarship on the U.S. Congress. By highlighting both past scholarship and potential future directions for research, New Directions will be a valuable and accessible resource for students and faculty for years to come."
—Sarah Binder, Brookings Institution and George Washington University
"This innovative volume reviews the current state of research on the United States Congress. Readers will find the essays an invaluable source of information for better understanding both chambers of Congress as well as examinations of the role of Congress in the American policymaking process."
—John David Rausch, Jr., West Texas A&M University
"New Directions in Congressional Politics is an outstanding collection of original essays by leading scholars of congressional politics. This is a book all students of Congress and of American politics should read."
—Walter J. Stone, University of California Davis
"With its rich theoretical and empirical insight, New Directions in Congressional Politics is an enjoyable ‘must-read’ for students of Congress. This unusually comprehensive volume brings together experts who share their wisdom, systematic evidence, and some illuminating anecdotes to trace important developments in congressional scholarship and the changing dynamics in congressional politics. Readers will gain a deep appreciation for Congress’ electoral and historical foundations, institutional dynamics in and between the two chambers, policymaking, and the significance of the president, courts, and interest groups. I look forward to assigning it in class."
—Kathryn Pearson, University of Minnesota
"Carson has brought together an excellent collection of scholars who have nicely combined their own research with other new research in describing the modern Congress. This book could be used as either a good primary text or an excellent supplemental text for classes on the U.S. Congress."
—Sean Theriault, The University of Texas at Austin
"For a comprehensive study of what is known about Congress, and what should be explored more, readers need go no further than this excellent addition to understanding legislative politics in the US. Summing up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above."
—J. Michael Bitzer, CHOICE (March 2012)