Cox, McCubbins - Setting the Agenda Book Notes (Agendas - Congress)

Cox, McCubbins - Setting the Agenda Book Notes (Agendas - Congress)

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Cox, Gary W. and Mathew D. McCubbins. Setting the Agenda: Responsible Party Government in the U.S. House Of Representatives , New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Chapter 1: Introduction. For democracy and a larger public to succeed, many believe that responsible party Government is needed, with each party offering voters a clear alternative vision regarding how the polity should be governed and then, if it wins the election, exerting sufficient discipline over its elected members to implement its vision (Ranney 1951, American Political Science Association 1950). The authors differ from this view, however. Traditional theories stress the majority party's ability to marshal a cohesive voting bloc as the source of its legislative power while the authors theory stresses the majority party's ability to set the agenda of the key to its success. They also do not model voting in Congress as if there were a single vote on a single dimension, rather, they envisioned a series of votes on different issues. They launch right into the modeling on page 3, illustrating the potential power of even a very minimal form of agenda control (just the power to block) and sidestepping critiques that focus on the ability of party influence over floor votes (Kreibel). They denied the notion that parties must secure non-median outcomes in order to matter and the notion that parties must exert discipline over their members in order to matter. Agenda control alone suffices. Instead, the theory sees a Democratic majority a smattering because the majority can prevent reconsideration of status quo policies lying to the left of the current median legislator on a given policy to mention -- thereby filling the agenda of mostly with bills proposing leftward policy moves. Additionally, the majority party's efforts on the floor are designed to complement whatever degree of agenda manipulation has already occurred by chorale and if you votes on the margin, not to coerce moderate members to cast risky votes in order to maximize party cohesion. Picking which bills will be voted on at all is the primary technique, garnering enough votes to eke out a victory is important but secondary. The authors theory also differs from traditional notions of responsible party Government in that the latter stresses the enactment of new policies (as promised in the party platforms) Anthony normative criteria by which one should judge whether party government is operating successfully. Their theory stresses the avoidance of party-splitting issues, hence the preservation of some existing policies as the key to political survival of majority parties. Eventually, the control of the legislative agenda can be translated into the enactment of some or all of the majority party's platform. However, the majority success in changing policies, unlike its success in preserving policies, depends on its internal homogeneity. "By shifting the terms of debate from the majority party's ability to marshal its troops on a given issue to
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This note was uploaded on 03/01/2009 for the course POLY SCI 207 taught by Professor Glasgow,g during the Fall '08 term at UCSB.

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Cox, McCubbins - Setting the Agenda Book Notes (Agendas - Congress)

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