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NOTE: SOME PARTS OF THESE NOTES NEED TO BE UPDATED – ESPECIALLY SOME OF THE NUMBERS OF FEMALES, HISPANICS, ETC. How is Congress structured? Bicameral Structure - independent chambers Part of checks and balances House - Larger – 435 – based on population Elected by single-member district – since 1842 1872 – Congress passed law stating that districts had to roughly same population – not enforced on states 1960s – Court rules that they need to be about the same size Blatant Partisan gerrymandering isn’t allowed. Some gerrymandering is allowed for racial purposes. Every 2 Years More rules and structure Senate - 100 Members – 2 per state Elected by state – originally elected by state legislature Every 6 Years – staggered Fewer rules – more deliberative in nature Congress of Today is significantly different than Congress of Yesterday During the first 100+ years of the Country Action was at the State Level - Washington was an unpleasant place - Short tenure – come an go quite often - developed into a Career - longer somewhat well structured tenure Who Serves? Demographically Congress tends not to look much like America but politically it does. White, Male, Well Educated, Reasonable Well Off Just a shade under 42 members of the House are African-American; 27 Hispanic; 74 members are women
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16 women in the Senate – 1 Blacks or 3 Hispanics Congress has become a full time job – tend to filled by career politicians in one way or another Party plays a key role in Congress – elections, organization, leadership, and voting – Democrats dominated Congress for 40 years – Republican control has led to some changes Congressional Elections Three Types of Races – Open Seat, Vulnerable Incumbent, Safe Incumbent Incumbency - # 1 factor in Congressional Elections
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  • Spring '08
  • ScottJ.Lasley
  • United States Congress, United States House of Representatives, majority party, House Majority Leader

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