"Choosing the Leader" by Matthew N. Green

Choosing the Leader Leadership Elections in the U.S. House of Representatives Matthew N. Green, Douglas B. Harris

Publication date:
22 Jan 2019
Yale University Press
288 pages: 210 x 140mm

How are congressional party leaders chosen? In the first major study since Robert Peabody’s classic Leadership in Congress, political scientists Matthew Green and Douglas Harris draw on newly collected data about U.S. House members who have sought leadership positions from the 1960s to the present—including whip tallies, public and private vote commitments, interviews, and media accounts—to provide new insights into how the selection process truly works.
Elections for congressional party leaders are conventionally seen as a function of either legislators’ ideological preferences or factors too idiosyncratic to permit systematic analysis. Analyzing six decades’ worth of information, Harris and Green find evidence for a new comprehensive model of vote choice in House leadership elections that incorporates both legislators’ goals and their connections with leadership candidates. This study will stand for years to come as the definitive treatment of a crucial aspect of American politics.

Matthew N. Green is professor of politics at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Douglas B. Harris is professor of political science at Loyola University Maryland. Both have written numerous books and articles on American politics.