An honors thesis focus: the Philadelphia Republican Party

I had listed a handful of proposals for my honors thesis a few weeks ago. After meeting with Dr. Robin Kolodny, a professor of political science at Temple and a mentor of mine, I have decided to focus on the nearly nonexistent Republican Party in Philadelphia, a good fit considering my interest in this city’s political climate. As suggested by Kolodny, I have signed Joe Mclaughlin, an associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts, on to be my adviser. He is remarkably knowledgeable and well-connected in both city and state politics. Check out the initial proposal I wrote out earlier this month.

Philadelphia, one of the largest and most historic cities in the United States, hasn’t had a Republican mayor in 55 years. Arlen Spector gave James Tate a race in 1967, former-Mayor Frank Rizzo ran in the 1991 Republican primary, and Sam Katz led two particularly spirited campaigns in 1999 and 2003, but, otherwise, most elections since Bernard Samuel last nabbed the city’s chief executive office for the GOP in 1948 haven’t even been close. Is Philadelphia’s Republican Party inept, or would nearly four out of five Philadelphians register Democrat regardless of opposition? Interestingly, Samuel was the final chapter in what was an almost entirely uninterrupted succession of Republican mayors for nearly a century, when the city became coterminous with Philadelphia County in 1854. Is Philadelphia simply prone to party loyalty or is there something deeper? What happened during Bernard Samuel’s term, which was the longest continual span in city history?

I have to now expound a bit on that proposal, while I immediately begin trying to develop a comparative understanding of other urban Republican Parties.

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  1. Pingback: Red, White Blue and Black: an honors thesis proposal « Philadelphia Partisan Politics

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