USC logo

Parties and Partisanship in the Age of Trump

Welcome to the second symposium of the Political Institutions & Political Economy Collaborative: Parties and Partisanship in the Age of Trump.

Partisan polarization in Congress and the nation has steadily increased in recent years.  Democrats and Republicans in Congress have become two ideologically divided groups, with little in common and little ability to work together to solve the nation’s problems.  And ordinary voters have increasingly used partisanship to guide their voting decisions, even as they diverge more and more on answers to the important questions of the day.

As polarization has grown, internal divisions within each party have also emerged.  These divisions have strong anti-establishment origins and helped lead to Donald Trump’s nomination and eventual election to the presidency — despite many prominent Republicans opposing his candidacy.

As we move into the second year of a Trump administration, we explore what partisanship looks like in Congress and the nation.  In doing so, we ask a variety of questions, such as:

  • How have congressional Republicans governed during this era, and have they been able to work with President Trump?
  • How has President Trump altered the Republican agenda?
  • Have Republican voters fully embraced Trump’s policies as their own?
  • Does Trump have control over the party’s national organization?
  • And, perhaps most crucially, is the Republican Party now the party of Trump?

To answer these and other important questions, we invite four esteemed political scientists to USC to offer their insights: Larry Bartels (Vanderbilt University), Sarah Binder (George Washington University and The Brookings Institution), Boris Heersink (Fordham University), and Frances Lee (University of Maryland).  Each will present new research with the hope of better understanding parties and partisanship in the “Age of Trump.”

A final roundtable, “Beyond Parties in the Age of Trump,” will extend the discussion into other areas of American Politics.  Short presentations will be given my R. Michael Alvarez (Caltech), on partisan polarization and election administration; Jane June (USC), on the peculiar nature of the gender gap in the 2016 election; and Ben Newman (UC-Riverside), on the connection between Trump’s racial rhetoric and escalating racial comments and behaviors in the mass public.




Papers are available only to symposium participants. (Please refer to the password sent to participants via email.)

 Invited Participants

R. Michael Alvarez (Caltech)
Larry Bartels (Vanderbilt University)
Sarah Binder (George Washington University and The Brookings Institution)
Christian Grose (USC)
Boris Heersink (Fordham University)
Jane June (USC)
Frances Lee (University of Maryland)
Ben Newman (UC-Riverside)
Chris Tausanovitch (UCLS)


Out-of-town guests will be staying at the Radisson Hotel Los Angeles Midtown at USC, located at 3540 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007.

Refer to the email from Anne Johnson for confirmation numbers, and you can contact the Radisson with any other questions (213) 748-4141.




Bedrosian Center