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 Why does this succeed, what does it mean for governing, and why is it so often repealed?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:
- Change required a replacement institutional template, losing major party, and ruling-party split.
- Legislative coalitions were generally stable. Deviations occurred when factional discipline flagged, not because factions switched sides.
- 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.