SAGE Journal Articles
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Abstract: Political scientists have demonstrated the importance of lawmakers’ identities, showing that race, gender, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation affect legislative and representational behavior. Is the same true for age? We argue it is, but the effect is conditioned by the salience of different “senior issues.” Analyzing the bill introductions by members of Congress during the 109th and 110th Congresses, we show that older lawmakers are more likely to introduce legislation addressing lower salience senior issues than their younger colleagues. In contrast, sizeable senior constituencies in a district influence lawmaker attention to higher salience senior issues, regardless of a lawmaker’s age. These findings have implications for our understanding of senior power and personal roots of representation in the United States.
Abstract: Although several legislative gridlock models have produced different results in terms of legislative gridlock under divided government, these studies have neglected contingent party pressures. This paper suggests an alternative contingent party pressure model. The main result of this model is that legislative gridlock is affected by the interactions of issue salience and government types. High issue salience increases legislative gridlock under unified government and, in contrast, decreases under divided government.
Abstract: We examine public attitudes about one of the most visible procedural features of Congress, the Senate’s filibuster and cloture practice. We measure the stability of those attitudes during an important legislative episode, relate them to more abstract attitudes about majority rule and minority rights, and draw inferences about the importance of those attitudes for evaluations of the parties and vote intention for the 2010 elections. We find that filibuster attitudes change in ways predicted by respondents’ partisan and policy preferences. Moreover, controlling for party identification, ideology, policy views, and attitudes about majority rule and minority rights in the abstract, filibuster attitudes have modest, asymmetric effects on party evaluations but no effect on vote intention.
Abstract: This article is based on a content analysis of the 17,811 Instagram posts made by all 534 members of the United States Congress who were seated for the duration of the first 6 months of the 115th session. I find that women are significantly more likely than men to have an Instagram account. Senators and women post significantly more times to their accounts. And a member’s personal characteristics, such as their chamber, party, and age, had significant effects on the type of content posted to Instagram. I conclude that members of Congress use Instagram similarly to how they use other social media platforms, that parties in and out of power use Instagram in substantively different ways, and that the more personal accounts of younger members suggest future changes in Congressional representation.