A first project, co-authored with Boris Heersink (Fordham University), examines the history of Republican Party politics and the American South between the end of Reconstruction and the implementation of the “Southern strategy” under Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan in the second half of the 20th century. Political scientists (as well as historians) have largely ignored the Republican Party’s activities in the South during this period. However, the ongoing presence of a substantial number of Southern Republicans at national conventions, and the intense conflict over local party organizations in the South, presents a puzzle: why were Southern Republicans given considerable weight in deciding crucial party matters (including presidential and vice-presidential nominations, platforms, and the location of national conventions), even as the GOP was increasingly unlikely to win elections in the South? And why did local political actors compete so vigorously for control of a party that did not produce electoral success? The title of the book is Republican Party Politics and the American South, 1865-1968, and it is under contract at Cambridge University Press. Here is a general outline of the chapters.
A second project, co-authored with Justin Peck (Wesleyan University), examines how the issue of civil rights for black Americans has been dealt with in the U.S. Congress from the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 through the present day. The book will take a historical approach and detail how the U.S. Congress has struggled with civil rights issues across different eras in the Nations history: from Reconstruction through Redemption, when blacks were first empowered and then reduced to second-class citizens; across the bleak period of the late-19th and early-20th centuries, when Congress was almost wholly unreceptive to black Americans plight and civil rights policy reached a post-1863 low point; through different phases of the post-World War I era, when blacks made slow and steady progress in generating a civil rights agenda in Congress, culminating in the landmark Acts of 1964 and 1965 (and their subsequent Extensions and Amendments). The project is divided into two books: Congress and First Civil Rights Era and Congress and the Second Civil Rights Era, and they are under contract at the University of Chicago Press. Here is book proposal #1, and here is book proposal #2.
A third project is a book in the New Institutionalism in American Politics series, on W. W. Norton Press, edited by Kenneth A. Shepsle. The book is entitled Analyzing Parties, which will stand alongside other books in the series like Analyzing Congress (by Charles Stewart of MIT), Analyzing Policy (by Michael Munger of Duke University), Analyzing Interest Groups (by Scott Ainsworth of the University of Georgia), and Analyzing Elections (by Rebecca Morton of NYU). Here is a general outline of the chapters.
Finally, a fourth project deals with the subject of party effects and the American Civil War, which is an extension of some of my early articles-based research. This is on the back burner right now, while I finish other projects, but the book will be entitled Investigating the Effects of Party: Congressional Politics and the American Civil War. It will tackle the question that has vexed the Congress literature over the last decade and a half: do parties matter in the internal politics of Congress? I will argue that Civil War politics provides a perfect natural experiment to test for party effects, because the Confederacy was nearly identical to the United States in all institutional facets, except that a strong two-party system flourished in the U.S. while a party system did not exist in the Confederacy. Thus, the effects of party on congressional decision making can be isolated and assessed. In addition to revisiting some of my earlier work on the subject, I will conduct a new set of analyses and develop some comprehensive case studies. Here is a general outline of the chapters.