Andrea Hatcher, Ph.D.
Sewanee, University of the South
Religion & Politics
American Presidency And Executive Politics
American Political Institutions
Countries of Interest
Senate majority leaders risk electoral defeat despite advantages of incumbency. In 2010, according to conventional wisdom, Harry Reid seemed likely to lose re-election, as had his predecessor. Nevertheless, he won a decisive victory. This paper seeks to answer the basic questionhow did Reid escape electoral defeat?as a means of elucidating the conditions under which Senate majority leaders lose re-elections. This research can be couched in a broader study of Senate majority leadership that understands the role as one that balances the constraints of multiple constituencies of state, party, Senate, and president. In these terms, and based on the cases of Tom Daschle and Harry Reid, I hypothesize that Reids electoral victory was no surprise in light of his states ideological position and support of President Barack Obama. As a rule, a Senate majority leader faces an electoral threat when he opposes a president that his state has supported, but gains electoral security when he serves a president his state has supported.
In this article, I examine the roll-call voting behaviour of U.S. Senate Majority Leaders, finding that Leaders generally locate around the ideological mean and median of their party at selection and at the beginning of their tenure but move toward the partisan extreme as their leadership progresses. Statistical analysis links this movement to size of majority; that is, as their partisan majority increases, their roll-call voting becomes more extreme. These findings, then, contribute a new interpretation of the existing literature’s ‘middleman’ theory of congressional party leadership.
This book examines the paradoxical relationship between the religious and political behaviors of American and British Evangelicals, who exhibit nearly identical religious canon and practice, but sharply divergent political beliefs and action. Relying on interviews with British religious and political elites (journalists, MPs, activists, clergy) as well as focus groups in ten Evangelical congregations, this study reveals that British Evangelicals, unlike their American counterparts known for their extensive involvement in party politics, have no discernible ideological or partisan orientation, choosing to pursue their political interests through civic or social organizations rather than electoral influence. It goes further to show that many British Evangelicals shun the label itself for its negative political connotations and in-/out-group sensibility, and choose to focus on a broader social justice imperative rendered almost incoherent by a lack of group identity. Placing itself at the forefront of an incipient but growing segment of comparative research into the intersectionality of religion and politics, the work satisfies a lacuna of how the same religious tradition can act differently in public squares contextualized by political and cultural variables.
Since 1913, United States senators have recognized one position among themselves as majority leader. The first incumbent, John W. Kern (D-IN), began the gradual process of converting the position into an office. He and his colleagues also set other precedents that, as this research will show, endure nearly a century later. Notwithstanding such a long period of experience, and despite the profusion of political scientists’ accounts of Congress and journalists’ daily observations of the legislative branch, no comprehensive study of the Senate majority leader has found its way into the annals of American politics. This book aims to correct the anomaly. While leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives has been studied extensively and intensively, there exists no comparable body of research of U. S. Senate leadership, in general, and of the Senate majority leader, in particular. Indeed, much of what we know is House-bound, but if the Senate is an “exceptional” body, meriting a different understanding, so too should we expect the leader of that body, with his multiple constituencies, to merit specialized attention. To be sure, many of the prominent findings of congressional research have been extended to the Senate, albeit mostly in a piecemeal fashion. Because we know much about the House, scholars tend to generalize those findings to the Senate, treating the Senate as an addendum to the House. Accordingly, much of what is known, or thought to be known, about the demands and constraints of Senate leadership comes from auxiliary chapters or even briefer token comparison paragraphs in House studies. This book is the first comprehensive study of Senate majority leadership––it covers the office and its occupants from the first incumbent, John W Kern in 1913, through the term of William H. Frist in 2006. Data are both qualitative and quantitative. They include materials from archives of several majority leaders—Lyndon Johnson, Mike Mansfield, Howard Baker, and George Mitchell. Also available are statistics of roll call votes, which reveal continuing patterns of legislative behavior, e.g., leaders seem to be drawn from among senators who are “middle-men” in political ideology but who drift toward more extreme positions depending on the size of their partisan majority. This partisanship, however, is tempered by commitments to institutional loyalty. Research further highlights the continuity of majority leadership in the Senate by noting a path dependent relationship between majority leaders and presidents, who depend on leaders to shepherd their proposals. In their relationship to their states, leaders also are found to be attentive to demands for distributive benefits. All told, these multiple constituencies—state, party, Senate, and president—constrain majority leadership in the Senate. The task of the leader is to balance constraints. In this unprecedented work, Andrea Hatcher examines Senate majority leadership in terms of the constituencies, both electoral and functional, of the Senate majority leader. These constituencies—state, party, Senate, and president—are found to represent constraints on the Senate majority leader as their demands often compete, and the ways in which Senate majority leaders balance them form the contours of Senate majority leadership. It might seem obvious for there to be much variance as Senate majority leaders and their constituents change over time, and, to be sure, differences in leadership styles emerge. However, what is more striking is not the change but the continuity that guides the institutional development of Senate majority leadership. The path dependence is one of constrained Senate majority leadership, not for the conventional wisdom that the majority leader operates in a supermajoritarian institution, but for the broader reason that these plethora of intra-, inter-, and extra-institutional forces pull at the leader. The scope of inquiry is comprehensive, beginning with an identification of trends in the selection of senators to become majority leader. It, then, traces the voting behavior of Senate majority leaders, analyzing by way of statistical findings how the leader represents his party constituency by roll call voting. One key, but often overlooked, variable that this study examines is size of a leader’s majority.
Book review of NEWSWORTHY: THE SUPREME COURT BATTLE OVER PRIVACY AND PRESS FREEDOM. By Samantha Barbas. Stanford, CA: Stanford Law Books, 2017. Pp. 352. $00.00 (hardcover); $26.00.
Book review of THE POLITICS OF EVANGELICAL IDENTITY: LOCAL CHURCHES AND PARTISAN DIVIDES IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA. By LydiaBean. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014. xv + 316 pp. $35.00 cloth.
Recent years have seen an increasing number of claims that a US–style Religious Right either exists or is rapidly emerging in Britain. This report examines whether or not the claims are accurate. Superficially, it argues, the case looks quite strong: there is evidence of greater co–ordination among Christian groups with a strong socially–conservative commitment, in particular relating to human sexuality, marriage, family life, and religious freedom, about which they are vocal and often willing to resort to legal action. This is a familiar picture within US politics. However, on closer inspection, research and analysis suggest that it is highly misleading to describe this phenomenon as a US–style Religious Right. For a number of reasons – economic, social, ecclesiastical and theological – Britain does not have, and shows few signs of developing, the kind of theo–political culture that has characterised American politics since the late 1970s. Drawing on electoral and social data, and a number of interviews with those organisations accused of being part of the nascent British Religious Right, this report is a vital contribution, and corrective, to a debate that is growing in importance and temperature.
White Christian evangelical voters played a significant part in electing Donald Trump to the White House and have traditionally been aligned with the US Republican Party. But UK evangelicals have very different political habits according to Prof Andrea Hatcher, author of “Political and Religious Identities of British Evangelicals”. Andrea joins Justin along with journalist Andy Walton, John Zmirak of The Stream, and Andy Flannagan on Christian In Politics.
"Mitch McConnell: The president's man in the Senate"
"Britain Fears a Culture War, but Evangelicals Aren't Going to Fight"
The Tories and the DUP: Why It's A Complete Waste of Time for Theresa May to Chase A Religious Right in the UK"
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