Thesis title and description:
"The Impact of Organized Political Networks on North Carolina State Politics”
North Carolina, like many states, has recently witnessed a shift to the partisan right by the state legislature. This shift follows a period of sustained investment that national and state organizations have made in state politics, and has occurred jointly with an outpouring of civic engagement by social and political movements like the Tea Party and, in NC, the Moral Monday protests.
This research will build on existing literature that demonstrates how political organizations have transformed over the course of the past decade with regards to grassroots organizing and politically engaged special interest groups. Using North Carolina as a case study, I will investigate the spread of statewide organizing networks and grassroots groups, and track how shifts in engagement have impacted certain policy issues in the state legislature.
To execute this research, I plan to speak with a number of key organization leaders, elected officials, local party leaders, reporters, and state political pundits. Through these interviews, I hope to have a better sense of how civic engagement manifests in the state, how important policy issues have shifted over time, and how networks of organizations work together to affect change statewide.