Political Science 21A: Question Set #2. Political Parties, Congress and the Presidency

Political Science 21A: Question Set #2. Political Parties, Congress and the Presidency.

Please respond to four of the five short response questions posted below. Your answers should be short, focused, and complete, ranging from one to three paragraphs. Please make sure to answer each specific part of every question. Successful answers will provide details and context that support your arguments and explain your position to the readers. You may also want to provide real-world examples taken from the readings, lectures, group discussions, or your own independent thinking. These illustrations can be from the course materials or your own ideas. Providing this context and being able to apply the material to YOUR OWN understanding of politics really shows us that you have mastered the material.

Each answer will be worth 25 points, for 100 points total

  1. How does the incentive for reelection shape the behavior of members of Congress? What specific activities do members of Congress do in office to increase chances of reelection? What activities do they avoid? How do these efforts to win reelection lead members of Congress to be both individually responsive but collectively irresponsible?
  1. How does the committee system help Congress overcome problems of collective action and reduce the overall costs of information processing for each individual member? What are the potential downsides of organizing Congress through committees? How do political parties influence the structure and operation of the committee system?
  1. Political Scientists argue that the power of the Presidency has expanded dramatically over the last century. Why has this occurred? How has the growth of presidential power reshaped the way American government operates today? There are lots of options to discuss. Please choose the two reasons for the growth of presidential power that you find most important and interesting.
  1. R. Douglas Arnold explores the question of whether inattentive citizens can control their elected representatives. Why did many political scientists conclude that inattentive citizens are unable to control their elected representatives? Why does Arnold alternative mechanisms of political control may mean citizens can and do control their elected officials? Which position do you find more persuasive? Why?
  1. Why does the US have only two major political parties? Make sure to describe Duverger’s law and strategic behavior on the part of voters, politicians, and parties. Explain why it would be hard for a third party to be electorally successful.
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