contributed to the Republican takeover in Congress. The GOP's Contract with America and its focus on issues of major concern to the middle class also were central to the party's victory. The contract showed how a political party can run a successful party-based campaign in a candidate-centered election system; the Democrats' failure to provide an appropriate response hints at the hurdles that must be overcome before any party can develop a national agenda. In short, the contract helped to define what may prove to be the newest battlefield of party competition in the era of mass-party politics.
This chapter is based largely on observations made during our service as American Political Science Association congressional fellows. We wish to thank the Association for giving us the opportunity to participate in the legislative process and observe the inner workings of Congress.