By Linda Fowler

Discusses the impact of the method of candidate choice on democracy within the usa

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Who] used government for private gain or menacing the power of wealth" ([ 1916] 1961, 120). American concerns with preventing the abuse of power, he argued, had blinded them to the dangers of petty corruption and incompetence, which were as destructive to democracy as monarchic or aristocratic monopolies of authority. He concluded, "Of the deficiencies summarized in this chapter, those which might seem to go deepest have least to do with constitutional arrangements ... [and result from] the prominence of inferior men in politics and the absence of distinguished figures" ([ 1916] 1961,119).

Their interest in the hierarchical ordering of society led them to consider how elites came to positions of power and how they created institutions to perpetuate their privileged position. Weber (1965) explored the development of politics as a vocation to identify the specialized attitudes and skills that distinguished members of the political elite from the administrative class. Michels (1962) and Mosca (1939) demonstrated how democratic governments would eventually succumb to oligarchical tendencies within mass political parties.

State lawmakers, for example, often move on to the House of Representatives, and some eventually wind up in the Senate; but far more retain their connection to state legislative politics. Furthermore, many seek statewide office, such as governor or attorney general, while others return to county and municipal government or leave politics all together. Therefore, in examining politicians' pursuit of congressional careers, one inevitably confronts the incentive structures that lead to other types of political office-seeking behavior.

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