David Mayhew's An Economic Theory Of Congress

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"Single-minded reelection seekers" (Mayhew 1974, 17) has been used to describe Congress since David Mayhew's study in 1974, Congress the Electoral Connection. In his research of Congress, Mayhew uses each Member of Congress as the appropriate unit of analysis. He claims that all 535 members of Congress act as individuals; therefore, they need to be individually analyzed (1974). Mayhew was not wrong in1974 when parties in Congress were weak, but as Congress has started to change his initial argument has become outdated. In this essay, I will explore why David Mayhew dismisses other positions and units of analysis to examine Congress. Additionally, I will argue that Congress has evolved due to Southern realignment and can be studied using Conditional Party Government theory due to an electoral shift.
David Mayhew starts his argument as to why he chose to study Members of Congress as individuals by challenging Anthony Down's, An Economic Theory of Democracy. As Mayhew states, Down's argues that members of Congress work as teams split by their party which each
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Instead, he claimed that this logic could be applied to British politics because of their parliamentary form of government. Mayhew states that there are various reasons as to why the Parliament in Britain has parties that work as teams and can be analyzed as such. First, in the British Parliamentary government, members of Parliament are nominated by the council. Council members will only appoint an individual that is going to vote along party-lines, hence fostering a greater party loyalty. Second, members running for office in Britain to do not have the financial resources to sponsor their campaign, meaning that once again they rely on the party to obtain the resources they need. Additionally, the Parliamentary system itself is unlike the Presidential System that we have in America which, according to Mayhew naturally explains the

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