The Whips: Building Party Coalitions in Congress, C. Lawrence Evans

Reviewed by Jason M. Roberts



Over the past two decades, scholars of the U.S. Congress have engaged in a long-running, often heated debate over the role that political parties play in shaping outcomes in the institution. Those who argue for strong “party effects” in the institution point to the numerous rules and procedural prerogatives that give party leaders the ability to decide which issues are brought to the floor and how those issues are considered. By limiting the agenda and often closing off the amending process, leaders, under this school of thought, are able to pull policies away from the median of each chamber and toward the preferred position of the majority party. In contrast, those who argue against party effects point out that rules and procedural prerogatives are set by chamber majorities (at least in the House) and that we should not expect the median member of the House to consent to a set of rules and procedures that would leave him or her worse off.

Scholars in both of these camps rely primarily, though not exclusively, on spatial models of the legislative process, assume that members see each issue through the lens of their ideal point, and use highly aggregated roll call data to support their claims. In The Whips, which was recently announced as the winner of the prestigious Richard F. Fenno

To continue reading, see options above.

More by This Author

The De-Institutionalization of Congress, ANTHONY J. CHERGOSKY and Jason M. Roberts

Beyond Ideology: Politics, Principles, and Partisanship in the U.S. Senate, Frances E. Lee Reviewed by Jason M. Roberts

About PSQ's Editor


Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.


Editor’s spotlight

Virtual Issue

Introduction: Black Power and the Civil Rights Agendas of Charles V. Hamilton
Marylena Mantas and Robert Y. Shapiro


Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

New APS Book

China in a World of Great Power Competition   CHINA IN A WORLD OF GREAT POWER COMPETITION

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS