I study political parties, mainly in the contexts of Europe and the United States. My research agenda remains broad, though I have begun to explore multiple aspects of electoral competition and party politics. Past and future projects investigate to far right electoral outcomes, divergences in far right party strategies, causes of issue-positional shifts among all parties, and the ways in which national historical legacies manifest in electoral competition. At present, my dissertation investigates whether and how historical legacies help and/or hurt far right parties. It explores the effects of historical associations for party emergence, sustainability, and electoral outcomes.
I employ both quantitative and qualitative methods. I have field experience interviewing political elites in Spain and doing archival work in Spain and Italy. I also have experience working with large observational datasets in R and STATA, using multiple machine learning techniques in R, and designing and implementing survey experiments.
Aligning incentives? Party position change on immigration in the European 'Refugee Crisis'
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). 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 tentatively supportive of gender violence policies that aim to enhance protections for women, framing gender as an integral component of their narrative on immigration, multiculturalism, and Islam. 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.
Populism and the Pandemic: France and the Rassemblement National
In a book chapter on populist reactions to the pandemic and cross-national report on social media communication, both co-authored with Marta Lorimer (LSE), we explore the rhetoric and actions Marine Le Pen and her Rassemblement National (RN) party throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic. In both pieces, we argue that Le Pen and the RN engaged in a careful strategy of balancing respectability and radicalization. The strategy fits well with the party's attempt to 'de-demonize' itself, a choice driven largely by incentives present in the French electoral system.
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, Vox—a previously unrepresented party in the national parliament—became the third largest party in the Spanish parliament. 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.