Danielle Thomsen is an assistant professor of political science at the University of California - Irvine. She received her Ph.D. from Cornell University in 2014. Before joining the UC Irvine faculty, Danielle was assistant professor at Syracuse University and a post-doctoral fellow in the Political Institutions and Public Choice Program (PIPC) at Duke University.
Danielle’s research interests include American politics, political parties, U.S. Congress, and gender and politics. She has just completed a book that examines the rise of partisan polarization in Congress, titled Opting Out of Congress: Partisan Polarization and the Decline of Moderate Candidates (New York: Cambridge University Press). The central argument is that the benefits of serving in Congress today are too low for moderates to run, further exacerbating the ideological gulf between the two parties. Another aspect of her research analyzes contemporary patterns of women’s representation in politics and why the number of Democratic women in Congress has increased dramatically since the 1980s while the number of Republican women has barely grown.
While at CSDP in 2018-2019, Danielle will complete her second book project, which delves into the theoretical concept of a political candidacy, exploring what counts as a candidacy and illustrating how our assessment of electoral competition depends on our measures of a candidate, and then examines how non-ballot candidates influence the quality of democratic representation. The goal of her second book project is to provide a broader and more comprehensive picture of political competition in contemporary American elections, with implications for scholars of comparative politics as well as democratic theorists.