Presentation Title

Policy Seekers Or Vote Maximizers? Tea Party Republicans In The U.S. House

Presenter Information

Andrew Markoski

Mentor

William Bendix

Location

David F. Putnam Science Center - 154

Abstract

Although scholars have focused on the legislative goals of the Tea Party Caucus in Congress, no study examines whether Tea Party members operate predominantly as policy seekers or as electorally driven vote maximizers. Therefore I ask: Did incumbent Republican legislators join the Tea Party Caucus before the 2010 elections to boost their chances of passing extremely conservative bills or to increase their reelection prospects? To answer this question, I examine the legislative records of these incumbents from 2002 to 2010 to see whether they routinely promoted a conservative strategy that conflicted with and was more extreme than the Republican platform. I also examine the level of voter support that these incumbents received before and after joining the Tea Party Caucus to see whether they enjoyed electoral gains from their new caucus membership. I find that Tea Party incumbents failed to use policy-seeking strategies and worked to maximize their electoral support.

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Apr 11th, 3:05 PM Apr 11th, 4:05 PM

Policy Seekers Or Vote Maximizers? Tea Party Republicans In The U.S. House

David F. Putnam Science Center - 154

Although scholars have focused on the legislative goals of the Tea Party Caucus in Congress, no study examines whether Tea Party members operate predominantly as policy seekers or as electorally driven vote maximizers. Therefore I ask: Did incumbent Republican legislators join the Tea Party Caucus before the 2010 elections to boost their chances of passing extremely conservative bills or to increase their reelection prospects? To answer this question, I examine the legislative records of these incumbents from 2002 to 2010 to see whether they routinely promoted a conservative strategy that conflicted with and was more extreme than the Republican platform. I also examine the level of voter support that these incumbents received before and after joining the Tea Party Caucus to see whether they enjoyed electoral gains from their new caucus membership. I find that Tea Party incumbents failed to use policy-seeking strategies and worked to maximize their electoral support.