How do members of Congress decide how to vote?
In an age of increasingly more partisan politics, members of Congress have been voting more and more based on the views of the administration and their party ideology. However, to say that all voting is based on this would be a gross misrepresentation, and there are many other factors such as the views of constituents, their own judgement and the actions of party whips, all of which can influence how members of Congress vote. The views of constituents is the most important influence on the way members vote, as it their constituents that decide whether they are re-elected, and they keep their seat.
The most important factor influencing how members of Congress decide how to vote is the views of constituents, as it is the constituents that decide whether the member is re-elected. If they disagree with a decision made by their representative in Congress, they can easily not re-elect them in the next election. This is most evident in the House of Representatives, partly because they are elected every two years, and as such have a much more volatile position. Furthermore, House members represent much smaller constituency areas, meaning that it is more difficult for them to ignore the views of their constituents. In the last two elections, we have seen the Democrats lose both the House and the Senate, and this in part can be attributed to polarising legislation such as the bank bailouts, which many constituents may have disagreed with. To counteract this, members of Congress spend large amounts of time seeking an accurate idea of what their constituents feel about certain proposals and legislation. This includes surgeries, where they speak to constituents about their views, replying to letters of correspondence and attending town meetings. These are important as they allow the member to differentiate between the views of the majority the views of the minority, especially in cases where the minority...
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