The Development of 104th Freshman Class Cohesion
Class cohesion for the 104th GOP House freshmen is an important indication that the freshmen generally placed a premium on their policy-making goals. Existing theory recognizes that legislators form coalitions to enhance policy-making success (Sinclair 1989). But, the 104th GOP House freshmen went beyond normal conceptions of coalition building. They specifically worked at class cohesion as a means of empowering an ideologically conservative leadership to best accomplish policy goals that it shared with the freshmen. Thus, a discussion of class cohesion approaches the theoretical work of Mayhew, Fenno, and Arnold in their efforts to understand the goals that motivate the actions of members of Congress. In the case of the freshmen, their numbers were such that class cohesion gave them disproportionate power over the policy agenda of the Republican House Conference. Thus, a study of their actions as a
class helps explain an important part of overall House activity during the 104th Congress.