I am a professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of San Diego. I teach courses about the presidency, war powers, campaigns and elections, voting, and political parties. My research focuses on the relationships between political parties and interest groups, and on the evolution of Constitutional war powers in the United States. I am the co-editor of the forthcoming Making of the Presidential Candidates 2020 (Rowman & Littlefield). My research has appeared in American Politics Research, Congress and the Presidency, Political Research Quarterly and PS: Political Science and Politics. I believe in public outreach. My colleagues and I publish a weekly podcast called "A Few Reaonsable Words" (https://afrwpodcast.wordpress.com/) that connects current events to basic information about politics and political science.
American Presidency And Executive Politics
Political Parties and Interest Groups
Constitutional War Powers
American Political Parties
I have two primary research interests. First, I research the interest group coalitions that compose political parties. I have published research about how party organizations confront contested primary elections, and how interest group endorsements affect primary elections. Second, I research the presidency. My current project focuses on the development of war powers in the American constitutional system. I have also published work on the dynamics of presidential honeymoons.
Research suggests that endorsements should affect outcomes in low- information elections like primaries, but that hypothesis has not yet been tested empirically. Based on a survey of 2002 congressional campaigns, this paper describes the universe of individuals and groups that offer endorsements to primary candidates, and analyzes their effects on primary election results. It finds that a primary candidate’s share of the partisan individual and group endorsements issued in the race significantly affects the candidate’s vote share, even controlling for campaign funds and candidate quality. Implications for theories of candidate emergence and success are discussed.
We analyze affiliation networks of interest groups that endorse the same candidates in primary elections, donate to the same candidates in general elections, and voice support for the same legislative proposals. Patterns of interest group ties resemble two competing party coalitions in elections but not in legislative debate. Campaign endorsement and financial contribution ties among interest groups are consistently correlated but legislative ties do not follow directly from electoral alliances. The results challenge the consensus in the emerging literature on the expanded party organization; interest groups have distinct incentives to join together in a party coalition in elections but also to build bipartisan grand coalitions to pursue legislative goals. We also modify conventional views on party differences. The Democratic coalition is not fractured into many small constituencies. The Democratic campaign and legislative networks are denser than equivalent Republican networks, with a core of labor organizations occupying central positions.
This paper tests the hypothesis that presidents are more successful in Congress during their first hundred days in office. Analyzing an original dataset composed of the bills on which president took official positions, it finds that presidents indeed have higher success rates during the first hundred days of their first year than they do later in their first year or the first hundred days of noninaugural years. This effect is strongest for presidents who face divided government.
Chapter 11 in The Guide to Political Parties, edited by Marjorie Randon Hershey, CQ Press/Sage (2014).
With Andrew Tirrell. We argue that there is reasonable evidence to suggest that party conflict at a nominating convention can have lasting effects for the general election campaign.