Paul Herrnson, professor of political science at the University of Connecticut, will present “The New and Old Politics of Congressional Elections” at a Department of Political Science lecture today (Nov. 5) at 4:30 p.m. in Tinkham Veale University Center Senior Classroom.
After years of relative stability—40 years of uninterrupted Democratic control of the House of Representatives, followed by 12 years of Republican control—congressional elections saw dramatic swings in 2006, 2010 and 2014.
The conditions for elections also have changed in highly publicized ways. The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Herrnson writes, meant that, “the 2010 congressional elections ushered in a new era of interest group participation in federal elections.”
At the same time, campaign communication and finance have been transformed through new uses of the Internet, and the terrain of elections have been altered through reapportionment and the underlying geographic “partisan sort” of the country.
In these senses there may be a new politics of congressional elections. Herrnson will address the following questions in his lecture:
How significant are these changes?
Do they clearly favor one party or the other, or some groups over others?
What are the prospects for reforms, such as different methods of redistricting, or changes in campaign finance?
What difference might any reforms make?
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