POLS 042. Is Congress Over?


If Congress is so widely despised as an institution then what's the point of having it?  Without a representative assembly, to be sure, democracy becomes plebiscitary and juristocratic.  But a well-functioning national legislature is hardly guaranteed because legislatures are inherently unstable - even fluid --- institutions.  Congress today is not the same institution it was a decade ago or a century ago.  With these premises in hand we explore the evolution of the House and the Senate, We also treat the congressional career, majority and minority rights, parties in Congress, House-Senate differences, enactment productivity, political polarization, and gridlock. Other issues include money and interest group influence given sharp ideological polarization (the puzzle here is: how does money matter if members of Congress already have very firm positions?), the committee system, how congressional elections shape the institution, influence on the bureaucracy, presidential influence on the legislative process, congressional interaction with the federal judiciary, and the difficulty of conceptualizing and measuring representation. Prior course work in or detailed knowledge of American politics is required
Social sciences.
1 credit.
Fall 2018. Valelly.
Catalog chapter: Political Science  
Department website: http://www.swarthmore.edu/political-science


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