As the U.S. Congress has steadily evolved since the Founding of our nation, so too has our understanding of the institution. The second edition of New Directions in Congressional Politics offers an accessible overview of the current developments in our understanding of America’s legislative branch. Jamie L. Carson and Michael S. Lynch help students bridge the gap between roles, rules, and outcomes by focusing on a variety of thematic issues: the importance of electoral considerations, legislators’ strategic behavior to accomplish objectives, the unique challenges of Congress as a bicameral institution in a polarized environment, and the often-overlooked policy outputs of the institution.

This book brings together leading scholars of Congress to provide a general overview of the entire field. Each chapter covers the cutting-edge developments on its respective topic. As the political institution responsible for enacting laws, the American public regularly looks to the U.S. Congress to address the important issues of the day. The contributors in this volume help explain why staying atop the research trends helps us better understand these issues in the ever-changing field of American politics.

New to the Second Edition

  • New and updated chapters highlighting party recruitment, redistricting, women in Congress, the nationalization of Congressional elections, and the reassertion of Congressional oversight.
  • A first look at Congressional-executive relations in the Trump era.
  • Updated data through the 2018 Midterm elections.

chapter |6 pages

Introduction to the Second Edition

ByJamie L. Carson, Michael S. Lynch

part I|99 pages

Politics and Elections

chapter Chapter 1|21 pages

Congressional Elections

Electoral Structure and Political Representation
ByErik J. Engstrom

chapter Chapter 2|18 pages

Making the Right Bet

The Long-Term Consequences of Successful Party Recruitment
ByAustin Bussing, Maura McDonald, Sarah A. Treul

chapter Chapter 3|19 pages

Recent Developments inCongressional Redistricting

ByRyan D. Williamson

chapter Chapter 4|20 pages

Women in Congress

BySarina Rhinehart, Michael H. Crespin

chapter Chapter 5|19 pages

Congress and the Nationalization of Congressional Elections

ByJamie L. Carson, Jason M. Roberts, Rachel Porter

part II|99 pages


chapter Chapter 6|18 pages

Parties and Polarization in Congress

ByDanielle M. Thomsen

chapter Chapter 7|20 pages

Change and Continuity for Committees in Congress

ByJames M. Curry

chapter Chapter 8|21 pages

The Erosion of “Regular Order” in the U.S. House

A Historical Examination of Special Rules
ByMichael S. Lynch, Anthony J. Madonna, Allison S. Vick

chapter Chapter 9|19 pages

The U.S. Senate

Chamber at a Crossroads
ByGregory Koger

chapter Chapter 10|19 pages

The Challenges of Partisan Conflict for Lawmaking in Congress

ByLaurel Harbridge-Yong

part III|115 pages

Policy Process

chapter Chapter 11|17 pages

Congress and the Executive in the Age of Trump

ByJoshua M. Ryan

chapter Chapter 12|25 pages

New Directions in Congressional Politics Research on Judicial Selection 1

ByBethany Blackstone

chapter Chapter 13|23 pages

The “Flip-Side” of Delegation

Examining Congressional Reassertion Efforts
ByJustin C. Peck, Jeffery A. Jenkins

chapter Chapter 14|21 pages

Historical Lessons from the Study of Congress

ByJoel Sievert

chapter Chapter 15|27 pages

Congressional Reform

Lessons of the Past for Today’s Reform Efforts
ByPatrick Rickert, Steven S. Smith