1. What are the basic features of the Congressional electoral system? What are the bicameral
a. representatives,senators and presidents are elected separately
i. legislators are elected from territorial units,not party lists (like UK)
b. members of congress are elected from states and congressional districts by plurality
i. when more than two options are available and the one with most votes wins
2. What are the basic incumbent advantages?
a. members could expand their electoral base by emphasizing individual character,
legislative performance,and constituency services,encouraging voters to use such
criteria in deciding how to vote
Why are incumbents successful?
• Name recognition
• voters more likely to vote for the person they know about
• incumbents in the ofﬁce before so naturally have more name recognition
• Informational advantage
• incumbents won before so they know the key points
• Institutional advantage (ex: franking)
• Franking-A policy that enables members of Congress to send material through
the mail by substituting their facsimile signature (frank) for postage.
• Casework/Constituency Service
• people called the ofﬁce when the have the problem,often time if you solved the
problem they will be likely to vote you again
• Credit Claiming
• Campaign Money
3. What is the process of reapportionment and redistricting? Be able to explain how and why
each takes place.
-need to make sure "each represents roughly same number"is always the case: population
growth & migration across country etc. • Reapportionment: Determining state representation based on population
U.S.Census every 10 years
-determining how many seats each state gets
• Redistricting-district need to draw / revised after seat allocate so that each house
member represents roughly the same number of people
one of the reasons: might be migration within a state
• states retain this power,each state does it in a different way
• A Few Primary Qualiﬁcations:
• Equally Populated–Wesberry v.Sanders (1964)
• Continuous Geographic Regions
• has to be one singular region,connected
• Compactness & Community Interests
• compacted region than a thin line-hard to decide,subjective
• Gerrymandering-draw district for some political purpose
• Partisan: a district max chances democrats gonna win in house
• Racial (…unconstitutional)
Cracking vs.Packing-how to do gerrymander
• e.g.you are democrat: crack,split up,diffusing republican so no
majority likely republican voters in the district
• e.g.pack all the republicans into one or two single district
4. What basic problems of legislative organization are parties and committees each intended to
Basic Problems of Legislative Organization-Congress'problems
• need for information
• members in congress does not know everything in each area so they need
information from various sources
• division of labor inside congress-committee and subcommittee systems
• deeper understandings within domains,congress can make better informed
-can't have each 435 people all work for different purposes there need to a way to
coordinate and pass bill
• control over agenda-decide what gets voted on when
• sacriﬁce a measure of their autonomy in return for the gains in efﬁciency
by delegating agenda control to party leaders • Resolving Conﬂicts
even when having a consensus on ends,often must resolve disagreement about
….solving collective action problems!
What are the bicameral differences in congressional organization?
Party Organization in the House
• Speaker of the House
• Chief assistants: Majority leader & majority whip
• no speaker for minority party
• Rules Committee
• (main) tool of the majority party
• Controlling procedural rules to consider bills
• committee assignment split (house): GOP has 60% seat = 60% committee
• speaker of the house can pick & choose those in rule committee
• a strong procedural tool to for majority party to do what they wants
• establishing all the rules to consider bills
• does not exist in senate
Party Organization in the Senate
• More collegial & less formal | collegial 学院的 社团的
• Minority party has greater inﬂuence,majority party has less control
• Most structured business conducted through Unanimous Consent Agreement
• no rule to stop talking,if taking no way to move on
• uniramous agreement or 60 votes to stop ﬁlibuster
• can be a team effort
• no rules committee
• rules only exist when every member agrees with them
6. How does a bill become law? Be sure to know each step in the general process.
7. What are the major features and functions of congressional committees?
• Purpose of Committees
• does real work,committee exists like parties,making process easier • Collective Beneﬁt
• Facilitate legislative process
• E.g.,information,procedural hurdles,etc.
• division of labor
• most bill dies in committee-limited time full chamber has
• full chamber does not look at full bill,committee does the ﬁltering
• Electoral Incentives
• E.g.,pork barrel legislation,policy specialization
• Fixed memberships–proportional to party control
means: all over party balance of committee-overall party balance of chamber
• if partisans are loyal,so the majority has majority control of all the
• Division of labor
• Policy specialization
• Electoral beneﬁt–logrolling
• logrolling like pork barreling.individual members with support each others
pork barrel legislation beneﬁting their district.MD bay bridge,CA
congressman won't care about it-but they care about their district-
• Fixed jurisdictions
• Dictating,in large part,where bills must go
…not all committee assignments are equal!
• in addition to the fact members of congress wants to be involved in more important
certain policy areas are more important than others
8. What are the resources of majority party leadership?
Resources of Majority Party Leadership
• Controlling the Agenda–especially in House
• what bill to consider
• what bill go out for a vote (house)
• if house leader does not want to put up a vote,if he decide to withhold it,
• internal pressures is though present
• Committee Assignments
• party leaders
• Campaign Money • some control of
• Perks–ofﬁces,staff size,etc.
….in short,the majority party has tools to ensure loyalty….because parties help members
reach individual and collective partisan goals
• members want this to a large extent
9. Understand the basic rules of the Electoral College.How does it shape the strategies of
presidential campaigns? Major consequences?
The Electoral College
-once each party has chosen their nominee
Formula for each state (& D.C.): # of Senators + # of Reps.= Total Electoral Votes
-D.C.does not have representation in congress but has in electoral college
538 total electoral votes.Need 270 to win.100+435+3
-3 for District of Columbia
If no candidate receives 270,then House of Representatives decides.
Electoral votes in almost every state are: winner-take-all (exceptions–Maine & Nebraska)
The candidate who receives the most votes in a state receives ALL the electoral votes for that
Consequences of system
• Possible to win the popular vote but lose electoral college.
• 2000 Election (2004 a close call).
• Al Gore beat Bush but lost electoral college.
• Presidential campaigns are geared towards large,competitive states.
• Campaign visits
• In terms of representation,though–technically a small-state bias
• Any vote passes 50+1% does not matter with electoral college
• that is popular vote,not electoral vote
• those has more population has more electoral votes because they have more
people generally don't campaign in D.C.because it has only 3 electoral votes
[you need 270] and it always votes for democrats. • small state bias
10. What are some of the major features of the nomination process? What factors affect
candidates’potential success at the nomination stage?
• Primaries are sequential–States (& parties) hold primaries at different dates.
• Primary vs.caucus
-means to see the public opinion & send party delegate to meet accurate demand.
• primary: traditional ballot box vote-drive up to voting station
• caucus: registered voters,localized meeting,whoever wants to show up can show
up to show support-people get a sense oh how many supporter on each side,
how many undecided-face to face meeting.informal discussion.
• based on the caucus the nominates can adjust themselves
• Early primaries are critical–e.g.,Iowa & New Hampshire
• Clinton 1992,“The Comeback Kid”
• front runner when going in-doing well early is very important-
• Howard Dean 2004,“Yeaaaagggghhhhhh”
• Delegates sent to party convention
• super delegate sent to party convention to vote whoever they want to
• Gradual,party wide contest
• Early resources are key to getting the nomination
• Primary votes
• Good standing in the polls
• Free media coverage
• They all feed off of each other
• Early primaries create momentum
• Frontloading primaries emphasizes early fundraising
• Beneﬁts those with name recognition,visibility,“star power”
• if you are doing well early people will see you have more winning chance
• snowball effect
11. Understand the formal roles and explicit powers that the Constitution delegates to the
president. The President as Commander-in-Chief
• The Constitution declares the president to be commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
• But ONLY CONGRESS can declare war
Presidents have the advantage:
• Only President can commit (deploy) troops
• President makes ﬁrst move,congress can not
• need congress to authorize the money spending-congress's holdback
the only thing congress can do.the important check.
• Not essential to have a formal declaration of war (e.g.,Korea & Vietnam)
• Citizens rally around President in a crisis
• Efﬁciency of decision making-one person making decision
War Powers Act of 1973
-48 hours,60 days
• Presidents routinely ignore it (e.g.,Grenada,Somalia,Kosovo)
Has not been tested in the courts
The President As Head Diplomat
-"half symbolic,half policy"
• both shaking hands and shaping policies
• “…to receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers”
• Two-Thirds majority of the Senate to ratify treaties-Senate's check
• using Executive Agreements can go around this
The President As Chief Executive
• “The executive power shall be vested in a president of the United States…”
“…take care that the laws be faithfully executed”
• Constitution does not deﬁne these powers
• Leads to implied powers that are inferred
"how far those executive power stands?-not speciﬁc"
"president is the top of executive power"
-> so what are the concrete ways the president execute power
Much discretion given to Presidents [⾃自由裁量权]
• Executive privilege
• president's ability to withhold / give information
• e.g.Nixon Watergate-Nixon if not directing of it,but has full knowledge of it • Increased use of Executive Orders (domestic policy) & Executive Agreements
• Do not require Congressional approval
• Full power of the law
-> constraints: cannot violate the established congressional approved law/statue
The President As Legislator
The Constitution gives presidents only a modest role in the legislative arena.
• May call Congress into special session.
• Veto laws.
• Must report “from time to time”to Congress with State of the Union address.
12. Be sure to know the various ways that presidents fulﬁll these roles and exercise their formal
constitutional powers (e.g.,executive orders).
13. What are the major factors shaping presidential power?
Factors Shaping Presidential Power
• Party control in Congress
• your party is the majority in congress or not
• Time in a President’s term
• early on a president's registration-easier to get things done
• president relatively more popular early on
• haven't have ability to do things in the ofﬁce to get criticized
• Lame Duck
• A lame duck is an elected ofﬁcial who is approaching the end of his or her
tenure,especially one whose successor has already been elected.
• Lame Duck ofﬁcials tend to have less political power,as other elected
ofﬁcials are less inclined to cooperate with them.However,lame ducks are
also in the peculiar position of not facing the consequences of their
actions in a subsequent election,giving them greater freedom to issue
unpopular decisions or appointments.
• The Election cycle
• reelection of congress affects president
• fear to get things done being fearful to give issue to the opposing
• The issue (Foreign vs.Domestic Policy)
• president more powerful in foreign policy-dominance
• "sole organ of the foreign policy"
• domestic policy-congress dominance • Public Approval
• National events
• Presidential “Leadership”
14. Understand the basic differences between the modern presidency and the 19th century
The Nineteenth-Century Presidency
• Presidents typically assumed a small role.
• Little leadership role in domestic policy formulation.
• Accomplishments mostly limited to responses to wars,rebellions,or other national
The Modern Presidency
Greater Executive Authority & Inﬂuence
• Greater delegation to executive branch
• speciﬁc executive branch (e.g.EPA) to implement its legislation
• Congress does not want to get hands dirty
• America’s increased role in foreign affairs
• Rise of the mass media
• important tool
• connect to the public
15. Why do we need a bureaucracy? What is an agency’s main purpose in the policymaking
Why a Bureaucracy?
• Fill in “the details”of legislation–delegation
• Less work for Congress–transaction costs
16. What are the various schools of thought regarding principal-agent problems and the
question: who controls the bureaucracy?
WHO CONTROLS THE BUREAUCRACY? ▯
• Agencies pursue their own goals
• Bureaucrats want to maximize their agency’s budget
• More expertise than politicians • advantage-you have more information/policy area than people wants to
constrain you do
• "it's hard to constrain them"
• Judicial review ▯
• The President
• Appointment power (Senate conﬁrmation)
• Ofﬁce of Management and Budget (OMB)
• Oversees agency budgets
• if bureaucracy don't do "what we want you to do"we will hurt your
• President maintains some veto power in the rulemaking process