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.