Author Information

Michael BinderFollow

College

Arts & Sciences

Department

Political Science and Public Administration

Rank

Associate Professor

Biographical Statement

Michael Binder is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of North Florida and is the Faculty Director of UNF’s Public Opinion Research Laboratory (PORL). Formerly a Post-Doc and Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, he received his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego in 2010. His research interests include voter decision-making, direct democracy, American politics and public opinion. He is a regular contributor to various media outlets and his research has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals.

Type of Work

Journal Article

Publication Information

Studies in American Political Development, 2017. Vol. 31(April): 1-20. DOI: 10.1017/S0898588X17000025.

Description of Work

Why do legislative parties emerge in democracies where elections are contested by individual candidates, rather than national party organizations? And can parties survive in the absence electoral pressure for their members to work on shared political goals? In this article, we examine the emergence and maintenance of party discipline in an atypical legislative context: California’s 1878–79 constitutional convention. The unusual partisan alignments among the delegates at the California convention provide us with a unique empirical opportunity to test election- and policy-based explanations for legislative discipline. Our study combines a careful reading of the historical record with a statistical analysis of roll call votes cast at the convention to show how leaders of the “Nonpartisan” majority held together their disparate coalition of Democratic and Republican members in the face of conflicting preferences, ideological divisions, and well-organized political opponents. Our findings provide evidence that cohesive parties can exist even in the absence of broadly shared electoral pressures or policy goals.

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Parties Without Brands? Evidence from California’s 1878-79 Constitutional Convention

Why do legislative parties emerge in democracies where elections are contested by individual candidates, rather than national party organizations? And can parties survive in the absence electoral pressure for their members to work on shared political goals? In this article, we examine the emergence and maintenance of party discipline in an atypical legislative context: California’s 1878–79 constitutional convention. The unusual partisan alignments among the delegates at the California convention provide us with a unique empirical opportunity to test election- and policy-based explanations for legislative discipline. Our study combines a careful reading of the historical record with a statistical analysis of roll call votes cast at the convention to show how leaders of the “Nonpartisan” majority held together their disparate coalition of Democratic and Republican members in the face of conflicting preferences, ideological divisions, and well-organized political opponents. Our findings provide evidence that cohesive parties can exist even in the absence of broadly shared electoral pressures or policy goals.