I am a Georgetown Ph.D. candidate researching party factionalism in the United States.

My dissertation is on the politics of voting-system change in America. An organized effort to enact proportional representation (PR) dates back to 1893. This now appears as a push for "ranked choice voting." Why does this succeed, what does it mean for governing, and why is it so often repealed? To answer these questions, I study past experience with PR in American cities. Three basic lessons emerge:

  1. Change required a replacement institutional template, losing major party, and ruling-party split.
  2. Legislative coalitions were generally stable. Deviations occurred when factional discipline flagged, not because factions switched sides.
  3. PR survived as long as the two most powerful factions shared power. These were not always the Democrats and Republicans.

Part of this project is published in American Politics Research.

I have similar projects on the interplay of party factionalism and rules-change in state and national politics.