Advertisement

Party Discipline

The news that GOP members of congress may lose their committee seats for defying the party’s one year earmark ban is an interesting window into the mechanisms of party discipline. Simply put, Democrats virtually never do this stuff. There are some real advantages to lax discipline — a “big tent” can win more seats — but ultimately a party that’s serious about achieving policy objectives will find that it’s much easier to do this if its members are willing to tolerate efforts to enforce discipline. And by and large you find a lot more of that on the Republican side, while Democrats are more invested in the idea of members as autonomous actors who are free to do as they see fit.

Advertisement