Foreign Policy Advocacy and Entrepreneurship shows how new and dynamic leaders in Congress are becoming highly influential in policymaking. Capturing the spirit of change in Washington, DC, it explores original case studies of eight US policymakers who challenged authority during the Obama administration—from war veterans and fundamentalist Christian activists to former spies and minority legislators. Newly elected representatives in both parties dove into issues that sometimes seemed well beyond the interests of their constituents and that defied their own party leadership. Setting the course for a new generation of lawmakers, junior entrepreneurs studied here employed a combination of formal legislative strategies for successful influence and informal networking, policy narratives, and communication strategies. While some congressional initiatives have succeeded in changing US foreign policy and others have failed, committed entrepreneurs appear to be gaining greater influence over US foreign policy in the polarized atmosphere of Washington, DC.
Cases of entrepreneurship by junior members of Congress represent a puzzle for traditional foreign policy studies that focus on seniority, party discipline, and rigid institutional systems on Capitol Hill. By melding entrepreneurship and policy advocacy literature, this book advances a new typology of foreign policy entrepreneurship, recognizing the impact of multidimensional strategies of influence. The arrival of new members of the 116th Congress, the most diverse in history, provides an exciting laboratory to further test these propositions.