The Marketplace of Democracy

A Conference on Electoral Competition and American Politics Sponsored by the Cato Institute and the Brookings Institution

March 9, 2006
10:00AM to 6:30PM EST
1st floor/Wintergarden
Cato Institute, Washington D.C.

Incumbents have won more than 98 percent of their races for the U.S. House of Representatives since 1998. The electoral advantages of incumbency have also grown for senators and in state and local elections. With rising concern about the dearth of competition, the Cato Institute and the Brookings Institution have come together to sponsor a conference that addresses several vital questions: Does the lack of electoral competition harm American democracy? Why are incumbents virtually certain to be reelected? Does campaign money or redistricting doom challengers?

What might be done to increase competition in our elections?

The keynote speaker will be Michael Barone, a senior writer for U.S. News & World Report and principal coauthor of The Almanac of American Politics. Among the academic experts speaking will be Bruce Cain, Gary Jacobson, Michael Munger, John Mark Hansen, Stephen Ansolabehere, Michael McDonald, Paul Herrnson, and former FEC chair Bradley Smith.

8:00–9:00 a.m. REGISTRATION
9:00–9:15 a.m. WELCOMING REMARKS
John Samples, Cato Institute
Michael McDonald, Brookings Institution
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9:15–10:30 a.m. Panel I—The State of Electoral Competition
Gary Jacobson, University of California, San Diego
Richard Niemi, University of Rochester
John Mark Hansen, University of Chicago
Stephen Ansolabehere, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
James Snyder Jr., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
David Epstein, Columbia University

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10:30–10:45 a.m. BREAK
10:45 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Panel II—Reform, Past and Future
Bruce Cain, University of California, Berkeley
Thad Kousser, University of California, San Diego
John Matsusaka, University of Southern California
Nathaniel Persily, University of Pennsylvania Law School
Bradley Smith, Capital University Law School

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12:00–12:45 p.m. LUNCHEON
12:45–1:45 p.m. LUNCHEON ADDRESS
Michael Barone, U.S. News and World Report

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1:45–3:00 p.m. Panel III—Incumbency Advantage: Redistricting and Third Parties
Michael McDonald, George Mason University
James Gimpel, University of Maryland
Frances Lee, University of Maryland
Paul Herrnson, University of Maryland
Tom Brunell, University of Texas, Dallas

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3:00–3:15 p.m. BREAK
3:15–4:30 p.m. Panel IV—Incumbency Advantage: Money and Politics
Michael Munger, Duke University
Kenneth Mayer, University of Wisconsin
David Primo, University of Rochester
Jeffrey Milyo, University of Missouri
Michael Bailey, Georgetown University

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4:30–5:30 p.m. FINAL REMARKS
Thomas Mann, Brookings Institution
Lance Tarrance Jr., RT Strategies/National Omnibus Poll
Amy Walters, Cook Political Report

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5:30–6:30 p.m. RECEPTION

For more information, call (202) 789-5229 or email events [at]
News media inquires only (no registrations), please call (202) 789-5200.
Please register by 12:00 p.m., March 8, 2006.

If you plan to watch this event online, there is no need to register.

Registration for this event is closed