Electoral competition and polarization transformed leadership organizations and the nature of party participation in the House
In recent Congresses, roughly half of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives served in whip organizations and on party committees. According to Scott R. Meinke, rising electoral competition and polarization over the past 40 years have altered the nature of party participation. In the 1970s and 1980s, the participation of a wide range of members was crucial to building consensus. Since then, organizations responsible for coordination in the party have become dominated by those who follow the party line. At the same time, key leaders in the House use participatory organizations less as forums for internal deliberations over policy and strategy than as channels for exchanging information with supporters outside Congress, and broadcasting sharply partisan campaign messages to the public.
Scott R. Meinke is Associate Professor of Political Science at Bucknell University.
“Empirically revealing, theoretically challenging, and exceedingly well documented, this book is an exemplar of how to use archival materials to reveal the work of Congress, and a model of how the organizational study of Congress might proceed.”
—Congress & The Presidency
“Meinke’s book contains so many important contributions that it is difficult to summarize the findings in a short review. . . Leadership Organizations in the House of Representatives is a must-read for anyone interested in parties in Congress. Meinke’s research—an impressive and no doubt time-consuming effort—fills an important gap in our understanding of this vital topic.”
—Journal of Politics
“This book fills an important void in our understanding of how the party leadership structure in the U.S. House has steadily changed since the 1970s and is a must-read for anyone interested in how House leadership organizations have assisted the parties in fulfilling their electoral and political goals.”
—Jamie L. Carson, University of Georgia
“Meinke has collected a ton of data. But what he has done with that data is even more impressive. His thorough examination of members’ lives through the lens of House leadership organizations says a lot about them and the institution in which they work. His impressive study gives us a more nuanced view not only of how the House has worked in the past, but more importantly, how it is likely to work in the future as the role of parties strengthens.”
—Sean M. Theriault, University of Texas at Austin
"Empirically revealing, theoretically challenging, and exceedingly well documented, this book is an exemplar of how to use archival materials to reveal the work of Congress, and a model of how the organizational study of Congress might proceed."- Douglas Harris
--Congress & The Presidency