Date of Award

Fall 2019

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Political Science, PhD

Program

School of Social Science, Politics, and Evaluation

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Jean Reith Schroedel

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Michael Uhlmann

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

John J. Pitney

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Rights Information

© 2019 Artour Aslanian

Abstract

Every four years, members of political parties convene in order to craft platforms in which they articulate the positions of the parties on a plethora of different issues. While not widely read, the importance of these platforms cannot be understated. They provide a lens for us in order to view the ideological shifts of the parties and often serve as a mechanism by which to guide the legislative agendas of the parties. This dissertation examines Republican and Democratic platforms written between 1960-2016 using a mixed methods approach in order to evaluate the value of using both quantitative and qualitative approaches. This mixed methods approach consists of using results from computer-assisted textual analysis software along with data from the Manifesto Project and a manual reading of the platforms. These analyses are performed on the overall platforms prior to being adapted to focus on a single issue in the platform – the environment. These different approaches allow us to get a big picture examination of how the parties utilize specific rhetorical tools to make their case to their party base and the general public while also giving insights as to how the parties have shifted ideologically and in the types of issues that the parties have focused on. Additionally, a manual reading of portions of the platform dealing with the environment point to shortcomings of relying solely on computer-assisted textual analysis tools as well as data from the Manifesto Project.

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