The Democratic and Republican Governors Associations and the Nationalization of American Politics

Sparacino, Anthony, Government - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Milkis, Sidney, Politics, University of Virginia

This manuscript explores the origins and development of the Democratic and Republican Governors Associations. I argue that, in creating the DGA and the RGA, governors in both political parties were responding to the emergence of an increasingly nationalized and programmatic form of partisan politics and sought to assert themselves in national politics in new ways. In doing so, the governors contributed to a more integrated form of partisan politics, one which brought additional national party resources to gubernatorial races in the states, the development of a more robust national party-in-service, and a more partisan form of American federalism. The manuscript employs a historical institutional approach, situating the rise of these organizations within the context of transformations in American federalism and partisan politics rooted in the Progressive Era. It also compares the paths of development taken by the RGA and the DGA. I argue that the endurance of a rift between southern conservatives and northern liberals within the Democratic party contributed to the delayed development of the DGA.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Democratic Governors Association, Republican Governors Association, political parties, federalism, American political development
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