The party whips are essential components of the U.S. legislative system, responsible for marshalling party votes and keeping House and Senate party members in line. In The Whips, C. Lawrence Evans offers a comprehensive exploration of coalition building and legislative strategy in the U.S. House and Senate, ranging from the relatively bipartisan, committee-dominated chambers of the 1950s to the highly polarized congresses of the 2000s. In addition to roll call votes and personal interviews with lawmakers and staff, Evans examines the personal papers of dozens of former leaders of the House and Senate, especially former whips. These records allowed Evans to create a database of nearly 1,500 internal leadership polls on hundreds of significant bills across five decades of recent congressional history.
The result is a rich and sweeping understanding of congressional party leaders at work. Since the whips provide valuable political intelligence, they are essential to understanding how coalitions are forged and deals are made on Capitol Hill.
“This is a superb treatment of an important subject. Every scholar of Congress, every practitioner of congressional politics, and every student, graduate and undergraduate, will learn important lessons about Congress from this book. The book is exceptionally well researched, written with flare, and remarkably comprehensive. The new data brought to bear on important issues is unparalleled in the field.”
—Steven Smith, Washington University in St. Louis
“Evans provides us with an engaging, well-written, and detailed study of the whip system that sheds new light on congressional coalition-building and intra-party politics. I highly recommend Evans's significant empirical and theoretical contribution to scholars' understanding of congressional party leadership, congressional procedure, members' voting decisions, and the legislative process more generally.”
—Kathryn Pearson, University of Minnesota
“Some noteworthy advances in the understanding of Congress stem from new theoretical contributions, while others are the result of gathering significant new data. This book scores on both counts. Larry Evans has thought deeply about the roles of party whips and he has also marshalled remarkable empirical evidence to support his contentions. Everyone interested in Congress will want to read this book.”
—David Rohde, Duke University