I am a postdoctoral associate in the Center for the Study of Representative Institutions and a lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Yale University. My principal research and teaching interests include the Presidency, Congress, American Political Development, and American Political Thought. In May 2019, I received my Ph.D. in political science from Yale with departmental distinction on my dissertation.
My book project considers the relationship between ideas and institutions, focusing on the idea of presidential representation. How do political ideas influence political development? What happens to political institutions when the ideas supporting them fall into disrepute? Scholars tend to emphasize factors such as interests or institutions to explain political outcomes, but I argue that some political outcomes require an ideational explanation.
As an illustration, I reconsider a puzzle: Congress’s creation of the institutional presidency. I show that acceptance of the idea of presidential representation – an assumption that presidents possess and act based on a unique perspective due to their national constituency – was an essential precondition of laws that together amounted to the institutional arrangements of the modern presidency. This claim was prominently contested in political discourse, including in hearings and debates in Congress. However, innovations based upon this claim pushed against the written constitutional frame. In this project, I compare the development and durability of laws passed by Congress creating the institutional presidency in five policy areas (budgeting, trade, reorganization, employment, and national security) over two periods of time (1921-1947 and 1973-1998). The first period demonstrates the efficacy of the idea of presidential representation in supporting institutional reform. The second period shows what happens to reformed institutions when the idea behind them falls out of favor.
Work from this project has appeared in the Journal of Policy History and Presidential Studies Quarterly. A full draft of my dissertation is available upon request. For more on my other publications and ongoing research, please visit my Research page.
In May 2013, I graduated from the University of Connecticut with a B.A. in political science.