Chapter Six: Congress Study Chapter Summary The primary goal for most members of Congress is keeping their jobs. Unlike candidates for legislatures in many other countries, candidates in the United States win or lose campaigns primarily as a result of organizing, funding, and managing their own reelection efforts. Although parties can help (or hurt) their members' electoral chances through districting, financial support (or lack of it), party identity, and other factors, most campaigns since World War II have been centered on individual candidates. In most of this time period, less partisan electorates have meant that voters are easier for incumbents to attract but harder for them to hold if conditions change or if an incumbent faces a quality challenger. In recent years, however, the parties have become increasingly polarized in the electorate and within the legislature. Once elected to Congress, members face costs in gathering information, coordinating action, resolving conflicts, and acting for the common good. To overcome these difficulties, the Senate and especially
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United States Congress, United States House of Representatives