Examining the Electoral Connection Across Time
Posted: 12 May 2011
Date Written: June 2011
Mayhew's (1974) thesis regarding the â€œelectoral connectionâ€? and its impact on legislative behavior has become the theoretical foundation for much of the research on the contemporary U.S. Congress. Recently, scholar To assess these claims more systematically, we consider four conditions that serve as the bus have begun to suggest that the Mayhewian electoral incentive may apply to politics in earlier congressional eras as well.ilding blocks of the electoral connectionâ€”ambition, autonomy, responsiveness, and accountability. Through a detailed review of the literature on electoral politics in Congress, we discover that all four conditions were present in a strict sense as far back as the Progressive Era. Moreover, considerable evidence suggests that a weaker, less formalized version of the electoral connection existed even earlier in American history. We conclude by briefly discussing the implications of these findings on the rapidly growing literature examining the historical and institutional evolution of Congress.
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