My research focuses on state political parties and legislative institutions. In my dissertation I calculate a new measure for the social and economic policy preferences of rural Americans and assess the quality of rural representation by state and national political parties.
State and Local Politics
Representation and Electoral Systems
My research focuses on state political parties and legislative institutions. In my dissertation I calculate a new measure for the social and economic policy preferences of rural Americans and assess the quality of rural representation by state and national political parties. You can read my research on federalism and political violence here.
Despite the extensive literature probing individual motivations for committing politi- cal violence, little existing academic research directly examines the role of local gov- ernments in encouraging political violence. I use a federalism perspective to consider how subnational governments can decrease the perceived costs of high-risk political violence against the state. This paper introduces three novel datasets to substantiate my theories: political violence against Bureau of Land Management employees, land trans- fer legislation in state legislatures, and a roster of constitutionalist sheriffs. As emblems of the contentious relationship between rural land users and the federal government, employees of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) routinely deal with threats, harassment, and physical violence from civilians who are incensed by restrictions on the use of federal land. Counties with constitutionalist sheriffs are 50% more likely to have violence against BLM employees than other counties, even when controlling for other factors. Additionally, levels of political violence are higher in years following the passage of land transfer legislation in the state legislature. Elected officials’ legislative activity, campaign promises, and law enforcement decisions all may promote political violence against federal employees. Incorporating federalism into the study of political violence uncovers how the actions of elected officials at the state and county levels can lower the perceived costs of violence against the national government.