Partisan Models and the Search for Party Effects in the US Senate

Barbara Sinclair

in The Oxford Handbook of American Political Parties and Interest Groups

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780199542628
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

 Partisan Models and the Search for Party Effects in the US Senate

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This article addresses what to do know about party in the US Senate and the questions that still need to be addressed. It also mentions that treating the Senate separately from the House in discussing party effects is justified because of the unusual rules that govern Senate consideration of legislation. The Senate majority leader is now the acknowledged chief agenda setter for the Senate floor. Conditional party government (CPG) theory and cartel theory are the two most prominent party theories. They propose that control over the legislative agenda is fundamental to party influence. The emphasis on negative agenda control in the cartel model has unfortunately led to questions about positive agenda control being underemphasized. The importance of organizational control of the Senate is described. The multiple-goals assumption when taken seriously changes both the potential costs and potential benefits of party organization and party leadership to members.

Keywords: US Senate; conditional party government theory; cartel theory; legislation; agenda control; organizational control; multiple-goals assumption

Article.  8749 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Political Institutions

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