Party Loyalty and Discipline in the Individualistic Senate

Kathryn Pearson

in Why Not Parties?

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780226534879
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226534947 | DOI:
Party Loyalty and Discipline in the Individualistic Senate

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This chapter explores how senators have increased their party loyalty in their roll-call voting and with their fundraising efforts to help their party's candidates. It analyzes Senate leaders' potential mechanisms of discipline—the resources, positions, and opportunities that party leaders allocate to senators—and identifies instances where leaders have and have not been willing to use them to reward loyalty or punish disloyalty. Although Senate leaders' carrots and sticks are limited, Senate norms are slowly changing, and senators have shown increasing willingness to cede power to their leaders. The chamber's membership is also changing, and partisans are replacing the “good ol' boys” whom Senator Lott bemoaned. The chapter reveals that although norms of individualism, combined with institutional features of the Senate, protect senators from most attempts by leaders to exert party discipline, even “individualistic” senators have greater incentives to toe the party line.

Keywords: senators; roll-call voting; fundraising; Senate leaders; party discipline

Chapter.  7755 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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