Neil O’Brian’s research focuses on political parties, Congress, polarization and representation. During his time at CSDP, he plans to complete his book project which argues that contemporary polarization is rooted in long-standing issue connections between racial attitudes and other policy views among ordinary voters. The book contends that the 1960s racial realignment created a domino effect across the party system. When the parties divided race in the 1960s, pre-existing ties between civil rights and other policy views among the mass public encouraged the parties to take positions on newly salient issues, such as abortion or gun control, which reinforced this racial divide. This nascent public opinion created an environment that allowed certain political coalitions to form within the party system, while making others more difficult. Part of this project is published in Perspectives on Politics. Neil received his PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley in May 2020.