General Interests

I study political parties, mainly in the contexts of Europe and the United States. My research aims to better understand both the causes and consequences of choices in electoral competition. My research agenda remains broad, though I have begun to explore particular aspects of electoral competition. Past and future projects relate a bit more specifically to radical right electoral outcomes, divergences in radical right party strategies, causes of issue-positional shifts among all parties, and differences in the content and quantity of campaign rhetoric focusing on different timeframes (the past, present, and future).

I employ both quantitative and qualitative methods. I have field experience interviewing regional politicians in Spain. I also have experience working with large datasets in R and Stata. I plan to continue to methodologically grow through ongoing coursework and practice.

My interests remain broad and I expect to update this page as my research agenda changes.

Working Papers:

Conflicting incentives? Party position change on immigration and European integration in the European 'Refugee Crisis'

Abstract: Do real and rapid changes in immigration levels to induce parties to shift their issue positions? I answer this question by examining issue-positional change on immigration and European integration for political parties in EU countries throughout the so-called European ‘Refugee Crisis’. Performing both a naïve analysis that considers variation in rates of demographic change and party position change as well as a more rigorous test of causality using a shift share instrument for asylum applications, I show that high levels of demographic change, specifically of those considered racially and religiously outside of the European ‘mainstream’, generally drive a restrictive shift in party positions on immigration but do little to change positions towards the EU. When further parsing the data, I find heterogenous affects by incumbency status and party family. Concerning shifts in positions on immigration, I show that the overall effects are driven by parties in opposition at the onset of the ‘crisis’ as well as center-right parties. Alternatively, I find that heightened levels of demographic change induce Eurosceptic shifts for only radical right parties in the sample. I argue that these heterogenous effects can be explained through a series of conflicting and/or converging incentives relating to governing responsibilities, ideological commitments, electoral strategies, and the existence of already polar positions. I then consider the implications of these results, arguing that they reflect different pathways for the development of modern issue positions for center and radical right parties in Europe.

Gender violence policies and radical right divergence: Understanding differences between Spain and Italy

Abstract: Why do radical right parties adopt different strategies on gender equality? This paper examines possible determinants of divergent strategies of radical right parties in Spain (Vox) and Italy (Lega and Fratelli d’Italia). The paper looks specifically to the issue of gender-based violence. Vox stands in vocal opposition to targeted policies aimed to address gender violence, labeling attempts of government action as evidence of an “ideology of gender” and an encroaching “progressive dictatorship.” Lega and Fratelli d’Italia, on the other hand, are generally supportive of gender violence policies that aim to enhance protections for women. Alternatively, they both frame gender as an integral component of their narrative on immigration, multiculturalism, and Islam, arguing that the protection of (native) women necessitates an opposition to Muslim immigration. These strategies are not novel, and the diversity of gender equality positions among the radical right is well documented in the literature. The determinants of such positions, however, is not as well studied. This paper proposes a host of theories that could account for diverging strategies on gender violence policy among radical right parties. Using a loosely controlled comparison and a series of hoop tests, the paper argues that domestic context is an essential variable to explain policy positions. Both the party marketplace (and national competition over the anti-immigrant vote) and state-promoted feminism create opportunity structures in each country that incentivize particular policy positions and account for cross-national differences in Spain and Italy.

Past Project:

Ending the Spanish Exception: Explaining the Rise of Vox

My undergraduate senior thesis in Government addresses the rise of a radical right party in Spain. In 2019, Voxa previously unrepresented party in the national parliamentbecame the third largest party in the Spanish congress. Drawing on both quantitative analysis and qualitative interviews conducted with regional party representatives in Spain, the thesis addresses the rise of Vox by discussing the various political opportunities that the party capitalized on. I argue that opportunities present in Spanish formal institutions, the party system, and short-term contextual events created a favorable moment for a radical right party to emerge when it did. The thesis argues that it this combination of opportunities that pushed Vox to break into the party marketplace. Perhaps most relevant to this emergence, the thesis argues, was its ownership over the issue of immigration. The thesis sought to add to the vast literature on radical right party emergence while focusing on a relatively new case.

The thesis can be found here.