“Follow the Leaders: Policy Presentation in the U.S. Congress”
Chair: Kris Miller, UMD
Committee: Frances Lee, Princeton University; Stella Rouse, UMD; Ernesto Calvo, UMD 

Abstract: In the modern Congress, rank-and-file members are increasingly removed from the legislative process, relying on congressional leaders for guidance to discuss major legislative decisions with their constituents. This expectation of provided policy narratives, which I refer to as “policy presentation,” has become an institutionalized responsibility for party and committee leaders. I utilize a mixed methods analysis, including computational text analysis, elite interviews, and observational data to document policy presentation and the conditions under which it occurs. This book-length project captures an undocumented responsibility of congressional leaders, contributing to the literature on congressional centralization, partisanship, and political communication.

Peer Reviewed Articles

Safarpour, A. C., Gaynor, S. W., Rouse, S. M. Swers, M. When Women Run, Voters Will Follow (Sometimes): Examining the Mobilizing Effect of Female Candidates in the 2014 and 2018 Midterm Elections. (2022). Political Behavior. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11109-021-09767-x

Gaynor, S. W. The (Financial) Ties That Bind: Social Networks of Intraparty Caucuses, Gaynor, S. W. (2021). Legislative Studies Quarterly. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/lsq.12360

Gaynor, S. W. & Gimpel, J. G. (2021) Small Donor Contributions in Response to Email Outreach by a Political Campaign, Journal of Political Marketing, DOI: 10.1080/15377857.2021.1910611

Gaynor, S. W., & Gimpel, J. G. (2021). Reapportioning the US Congress: The shifting geography of political influence. Political Geography86, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2021.102365

Wyckoff, S., & Lee, F. E. (2020). Advice for Women and Their Colleagues: An Interview with Frances E. Lee. PS: Political Science & Politics, 53(2), 310-312. DOI: 10.1017/S1049096519002129

Book Chapters, Articles, and Reports

Gaynor, S. W., “Here’s how Republican and Democratic party leaders reward the faithful and punish wayward members”, The Monkey Cage: Washington Post, Dec. 14, 2021.

Gaynor, S. W., “Congress and External Influencers: Interest Groups, Activists, and Media.” Congress Explained, Burgat, C. and Hunt, C. Sage Press, forthcoming 2022.

U.S. Congress. House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. Final Report. Washington: U.S. Government Publishing Office, October 2020. (1009-E). (Y 4.2:M 72/R 29). Lead Author, with support from the American Political Science Association Public Service Fellowship. https://purl.fdlp.gov/GPO/gpo146079.

Wyckoff, S. (2017). “Should Congressional Incumbents be Concerned About the 2018 Midterm Elections?“, Center for American Politics and Citizenship, University of Maryland. Download the full report here.

Working Papers

“Voting the District or Talking the District” with Kris Miller, Philip Resnik, Pranav Goel, Alexander M. Hoyle. Prepared for the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (2021)

“New Lines, New Districts, and New Representation: State Decisions in Congressional Reapportionment”, with Sam Hayes (Boston College). Under review.

“Follow the Leader: Policy Presentation in the U.S. Congress,” Prepared for the Annual Midwest Political Science Association Conference (2022).

“Expanding Grassroots Support through Social Media Outreach in a Political Campaign” with Jim Gimpel. Under review.


Replication files via GitHub
Replication files for “Financial Ties that Bind”, LSQ Dataverse

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