Reeves teaches on American elections and voting behavior, the American presidency and executive branch politics. His 2015 book, The Particularistic President: Executive Branch Politics and Political Inequality, examines how local accountability combined with the institutions of presidential elections causes presidents to disproportionately reward important constituencies with federal dollars, including the declaration of disaster relief.
When disaster strikes, citizens are fearful, and some will blame elected officials for things beyond their control. But the lens of accountability is also sharpened. Partisanship will not protect our families or our livelihoods.
In one of the United States’ national myths, George Washington accepts responsibility for having chopped down a cherry tree — a story that’s held up as a sign of how deeply honorable our founding president was. Our research finds that leaders who claim the blame for their governments’ performance when crises strike also can reap rewards.
The divide between urban and rural voters in the United States is nothing new, but its cause has been less clear. A new study by Washington University in St. Louis political scientists finds that it isn’t personal profiles, but rather proximity to bigger cities that drives the political divide.
Many have criticized the Trump administration for responding slowly to Puerto Rico’s devastation from Hurricane Maria. Critics note that Trump has devoted more tweets to the NFL controversy than to Puerto Rico and its 3.4 million residents. What explains the Trump administration’s lukewarm reaction?