National Science Foundation
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Department of Political Science
University of California, Santa Barbara
Ph.D. Cornell University
Department of Government
I am a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow, pursuing research in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. My research aims to assess the degree to which the federated structure of American political institutions can undermine national partisan polarization by producing variation in partisan goals and creating avenues for effective bipartisan governance and enduring policy. The conventional wisdom is that the nationalization of the electorate and the accompanying negative partisanship will produce within-state partisan polarization that reflects national divisions.
I challenge the existing assumptions concerning state polarization along a number of fronts. First, my postdoctoral work examines variation in partisan issue ownership and salience between the states and within the parties through the lens of state legislative campaigns. In doing so, I explore the degree to which national polarized partisan rhetoric, particularly the growing emphasis on explicit racial priming and animosity, extends into state political campaign communications. Secondly, my book project explores the impact partisan competition for control of state institutions has on opportunities for bi-partisan policy implementation across levels of government. Ultimately, my research aims to assess the degree to which the federated structure of American politics can undermine national partisan polarization by institutionalizing variation in partisan goals and creating avenues for effective bipartisan governance and enduring policy.
I completed my dissertation, entitled "American Federalism and Partisan Resistance in an Age of Polarization", at Cornell University in August 2018 under the guidance of Dr. Suzanne Mettler and Dr David Bateman. I received a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame in 2008. Prior to graduate school, I worked for a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness about down-ballot issues and state elections through the creation of digital resources for citizens, including information on state open records and meetings laws, ballot measures, state legislative, executive and judicial elections and even state policy.