The congressional agenda, Frances Lee contends, includes many issues about which liberals and conservatives generally agree. Even over these matters, though, Democratic and Republican senators tend to fight with each other. What explains this discord? Beyond Ideology argues that many partisan battles are rooted in competition for power rather than disagreement over the rightful role of government.
The first book to systematically distinguish Senate disputes centering on ideological questions from the large proportion of them that do not, this volume foregrounds the role of power struggle in partisan conflict. Presidential leadership, for example, inherently polarizes legislators who can influence public opinion of the president and his party by how they handle his agenda. Senators also exploit good government measures and floor debate to embarrass opponents and burnish their own party’s image—even when the issues involved are broadly supported or low-stakes. Moreover, Lee contends, the congressional agenda itself amplifies conflict by increasingly focusing on issues that reliably differentiate the parties. With the new president pledging to stem the tide of partisan polarization, Beyond Ideology provides a timely taxonomy of exactly what stands in his way.
The story of how the First Amendment became an obstacle to campaign finance regulation—a history that began much earlier than most imagine.
Americans across party lines believe that public policy is rigged in favor of those who wield big money in elections. Yet, legislators are restricted in addressing these concerns by a series of Supreme Court decisions finding that campaign finance regulations violate the First Amendment.
Big Money Unleashed argues that our current impasse is the result of a long-term process involving many players. Naturally, the justices played critical roles—but so did the attorneys who hatched the theories necessary to support the legal doctrine, the legal advocacy groups that advanced those arguments, the wealthy patrons who financed these efforts, and the networks through which they coordinated strategy and held the Court accountable.
Drawing from interviews, public records, and archival materials, Big Money Unleashed chronicles how these players borrowed a litigation strategy pioneered by the NAACP to dismantle racial segregation and used it to advance a very different type of cause.
Legislative member organizations (LMOs)—such as caucuses in the U.S. Congress and intergroups in the European Parliament—exist in lawmaking bodies around the world. Unlike parties and committees, LMOs play no obvious, predefined role in the legislative process. They provide legislators with opportunities to establish social networks with colleagues who share common interests. In turn, such networks offer valuable opportunities for the efficient exchange of policy-relevant—and sometimes otherwise unattainable—information between legislative offices. Building on classic insights from the study of social networks, the authors provide a comparative overview of LMOs across advanced, liberal democracies. In two nuanced case studies of LMOs in the European Parliament and the U.S. Congress, the authors rely on a mix of social network analysis, sophisticated statistical methods, and careful qualitative analysis of a large number of in-depth interviews.
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