Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2015

DOI

10.1086/682415

Publication Title

Journal of Politics

Volume

77

Issue

4

Pages

1129-1141

Abstract

This study demonstrates that unconditional blocking of bills opposed by a majority of the majority party--as implied by the party cartel model and advocated by former Speaker Dennis Hastert--can produce conditions in which the majority party loses popular support and loses elections. The theoretical analysis and empirical results imply that the use of negative agenda power to block bills is circumscribed by this risk of electoral defeat. As a result, the opportunity for effective negative agenda control is conditional on majority party issue advantage, party polarization, and the distribution of status quo locations. In particular, majority party roll rates should sometimes be nonzero, blocking increases the odds of majority party defeat in House of Representatives elections, and policy change is most likely on issues with status quo that the model suggests are the riskiest to block.

Original Publication Citation

Richman, J. (2015). The electoral costs of party agenda setting: Why the Hastert Rule leads to defeat. Journal of Politics, 77(4), 1129-1141. doi: 10.1086/682415

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