Book Manuscript

Thomsen, Danielle M. Opting Out of Congress: Partisan Polarization and the Decline of Moderate Candidates. Forthcoming with Cambridge University Press.

  • Scholars have focused on mass-level and institutional-level explanations for the rise in partisan polarization in the U.S. Congress.  My book instead examines ideological changes in the candidates who run for Congress.  The central argument is that moderates are opting out of the congressional candidate pool, further exacerbating the ideological gulf between the parties in Congress.  Liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats are outsiders in both parties, and the personal and professional benefits of congressional service are too low for them to run.  Although the political center has long been deemed a coveted position in the legislature, it is now an increasingly lonely and lowly place to be.  The focus on the supply of congressional candidates sheds light on why polarization has continued to grow unabated and why recent policy reforms have been largely ineffective to date.

Journal Articles

Thomsen, Danielle M. and Michele L. Swers. “Which Women Can Run? Gender, Partisanship, and Candidate Donor Networks.” Forthcoming at Political Research Quarterly.

Aldrich, John H. and Danielle M. Thomsen. “Party, Policy, and the Ambition to Run for Higher Office.” Forthcoming at Legislative Studies Quarterly.

Thomsen, Danielle M. 2015. “Why So Few (Republican) Women? Explaining the Partisan Imbalance of Women in the U.S. Congress.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 40(2): 295-323.

Thomsen, Danielle M. 2014. “Ideological Moderates Won’t Run: How Party Fit Matters for Partisan Polarization in Congress.” Journal of Politics 76(3): 786-797.

Working Papers

“Gender Equality Mood Across States and Over Time.” With Julianna Koch. Invited to revise and resubmit to State Politics & Policy Quarterly.

“Why So Slow? The Political and Structural Barriers to Gender Parity in the U.S. Congress.” Under review.

“Gender and Ideology in U.S. House Elections.” Under review.

“Who Donates to Women Candidates? Gender, Partisanship, and Candidate Donor Networks.” With Michele L. Swers.

“The Impact of Gender on Legislator Responsiveness.” With Bailey K. Sanders.

“Would Primary Voters Support Moderate Candidates?”

“The Concept of a Candidacy.”