Hostile Takeover: The House Republican Party, 1980-1995

By Douglas L. Koopman | Go to book overview
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Chapter 6
House Republicans: From "Permanent"
Minority to Pugnacious Majority

The contemporary House Republican Conference is divided into several factions. Not all important divisions divide neatly along voting lines. Equally critical divisions are over attitudes about congressional norms, bipartisanship, and representational styles.

This final chapter puts this description of House Republican factions into a broader historical and political context. It first describes some factional changes in the House Republican conference from 1980 to its ascension to majority status in 1995. It then examines the 1992-95 period of heightened activity in aggressively seeking, and then securing, majority congressional status. It concludes by speculating about the future of the House Republicans.

Secular Changes Within the House Republican Party in the
Reagan-Bush Era

Many studies of congressional party changes include a review of party geographical shifts. Tables 6.1 documents this frequently cited information for the House Republican Conference, in percentage terms, from the 97th Congress through the 104th.

The South is the one region with clear relative gains in the House GOP conference. This gain is mirrored almost perfectly by the combined losses from the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Border regions. On the other hand, the regions of New England, the Plains/Rockies and the Pacific retained almost exactly the same proportional influence in the decade and one-half studied here.


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