The Legislative Legacy of Congressional Campaigns

The Legislative Legacy of Congressional Campaigns

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Do members of Congress follow through on the appeals they make in campaigns? The answer to this question lies at the heart of assessments of democratic legitimacy. This study demonstrates that, contrary to the conventional wisdom that candidates' appeals are just 'cheap talk', campaigns actually have a lasting legacy in the content of representatives' and senators' behavior in office. Levels of promise-keeping vary in a systematic fashion across legislators, across types of activity, across time and across chamber. Moreover, legislators' responsiveness to their appeals shapes their future electoral fortunes and career choices, and their activity on their campaign themes leaves a tangible trace in public policy outputs. Understanding the dynamics of promise-keeping thus has important implications for our evaluations of the quality of campaigns and the strength of representation in the United States.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 19 b/w illus. 19 tables
  • 1139073036
  • 9781139073035

Review quote

"In this important new book, Tracy Sulkin asks a relatively simple, yet important question in the context of studies on representation: do members of Congress actually follow through on the appeals they make in campaigns once they are elected? Through a careful analysis of individual campaigns and legislative behavior in both the House and Senate, she concludes that the answer is indeed "yes.".. I encourage anyone interested in legislative accountability and representation to check out this exciting new contribution to the field of legislative studies." -Jamie Carson, University of Georgia, Congress & the Presidency "In The Legislative Legacy of Congressional Campaigns, Tracy Sulkin provides an excellent follow-up to her first volume, Issue Politics in Congress (2005). As with Issue Politics, Legislative Legacy demonstrates a keen interest in connecting congressional elections and legislative behavior. The books asks a simple question: do legislators keep their campaign promises?... This is a timely work, given the profoundly low level of public approval for the country's most democratic branch of government. Moreover, the topic is normatively important, in that it sheds light on representation." -Elizabeth A. Oldmixon, University of North Texas, American Review of Politicsshow more

Table of contents

1. Promises to keep?; 2. Campaigns as signals; 3. Campaign appeals and legislative activity; 4. Mechanisms underlying promise-keeping; 5. Promise-making and promise-keeping on defense and environmental issues; 6. The who, when, and where of follow-through; 7. The electoral implications of promise-keeping; 8. Promises and policymaking; 9. Representation, responsiveness, and the electoral connection.show more