As an expert on American politics and government, Matt Grossmann's research spans national and state policymaking, election campaigns, interest groups, and political parties. His current work explores the scope and mechanisms of economic inequalities in policy influence and the missing policy consequences of Republican gains in the American states.
His books include Asymmetric Politics: Ideological Republicans and Group Interest Democrats, published by Oxford University Press in 2016 (and co-authored with David A. Hopkins); Artists of the Possible: Governing Networks and American Policy Change Since 1945, published by Oxford University Press in 2014; and The Not-So-Special Interests: Interest Groups, Public Representation, and American Governance, published by Stanford University Press in 2012.
Grossmann is the author of numerous journal articles on such topics as policy change, political party networks, the legislative process and public opinion. His research appears in the Journal of Politics, Policy Studies Journal, Perspectives on Politics, American Politics Research and other outlets. He is also co-author of Campaigns & Elections, a textbook available through W. W. Norton, and he is editor of the volume New Directions in Interest Group Politics, from Routledge. He also writes for blogs and popular media.
His roots are also deep in practical politics, especially in candidate training, policy and survey research. His experience includes work at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government, the Institute of Governmental Studies, the Center for Voting and Democracy and the Center for Democracy and Technology. He served as a fellow for the Sunlight Foundation and co-authored a book for use in campaign leadership institutes.
A member of MSU’s faculty since 2007, he is founder and director of the Michigan Policy Network and served as liaison to MSU’s Washington Semester Program.
He received his bachelor’s degree from Claremont McKenna College, his master’s in political science in 2002 and doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2007. He became IPPSR director in January 2016. Grossmann is available by phone (517) 355-6672, by email at email@example.com, on Twitter at @mattgrossmann and at www.mattg.org
Industry Expertise (4)
Areas of Expertise (9)
Emerging Scholar Award (professional)
An award given by the Midwest Political Science Association
Outstanding Academic Title (professional)
An award given by Choice for Grossmann's book, "Artists of the Possible"
University of California: Ph.D., Political Science
University of California: M.A., Political Science
- Michigan Policy Network
- College of Social Science Research Committee
- American Politics Field Committee
Why There Is No ‘Liberal Tea Party’
The New York Times print
Since the election of Donald Trump, political analysts have expected a left-wing version of the Tea Party movement to arise. But Republicans still suffer from more ideological dissension even after gaining control of Washington.
As the 2018 nomination season gets underway, analysts anticipate a network of insurgent candidates and activists to seek a liberal purification of the Democratic Party, in the same way that Tea Party members took aim at a detested Republican “establishment” via a series of formidable primary challenges and congressional leadership battles. Yet there has been no evidence of a national, ideologically motivated rebellion among Democratic primary voters, interest groups or donors.
Missing Conservatism? Just Wait for a Democratic President
The New York Times print
With President Trump’s support, Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress recently enacted an enormous increase in government spending, reversing the only major policy victory of Tea Party insurgents in 2011. Given this blasphemy, where is the conservative revolt?
The typical conservative cycle runs from backlash to embrace to disappointment — and we are right on schedule. After opposing government expansion and social change under Democratic presidents, conservatives typically give new Republican presidents the benefit of the doubt. By the time of the next counterattack against a new Democrat, historical revisionism sets in: Republican leaders are seen as part of the problem, being too accommodating to liberalism and selling out their principles.
Monkey Cage Republicans and Democrats can’t even agree about how they disagree
The Washington Post print
Republican and Democratic voters disagree about a lot. But the divide between each party’s members is much wider than simply distinct policy positions and different evaluations of candidates. Each party’s supporters define the terms and stakes of political competition quite differently. Republicans believe they’re battling over two opposing ideologies, while Democrats view partisan conflict instead as a fight between different social groups.
In our new book, Asymmetric Politics: Ideological Republicans and Group Interest Democrats, we show that this pattern has held true across decades of history and a variety of political contexts — and demonstrate that each group of partisans is fundamentally correct about its own side.
MSU’s IPPSR: Informing public policy and improving governance in Michigan
“Our mission is to inform public policy and improve governance in Michigan,” Matt Grossmann tells Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon and Spartans Athletic Director Mark Hollis on MSU Today. Grossmann directs MSU’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR).
Journal Articles (5)
Scholarship commonly implies that the major political parties in the United States are configured as mirror images to each other, but the two sides actually exhibit important and underappreciated differences. The Republican Party is primarily the agent of an ideological movement whose supporters prize doctrinal purity, while the Democratic Party is better understood as a coalition of social groups seeking concrete government action. This asymmetry is reinforced by American public opinion, which favors left-of-center positions ...
"Lobbyist" tends to be used as a dirty word in politics. Indeed, during the 2008 presidential primary campaign, Hillary Clinton was derided for even suggesting that some lobbyists represent" real Americans." But although many popular commentators position interest groups as representatives of special—not" public"—interests, much organized advocacy is designed to advance public interests and ideas.
We argue that citizens distinguish the tone of a campaign from the quality of information that it provides and that evaluations on each dimension respond differently to positive and negative political advertising. We test these claims using survey and advertising data from the 2000 presidential campaign and two 1998 gubernatorial races. In each race, citizens separate judgments about the tone of a campaign from judgments about the quality of information they have received.
We analyze affiliation networks of interest groups that endorse the same candidates in primary elections, donate to the same candidates in general elections, and voice support for the same legislative proposals. Patterns of interest group ties resemble two competing party coalitions in elections but not in legislative debate. Campaign endorsement and financial contribution ties among interest groups are consistently correlated but legislative ties do not follow directly from electoral alliances.
Conventional wisdom holds that the public dislikes campaigns for their negativity and superficiality, preferring a cleaner, substantive, and more deliberative process. By contrast, the implication of Hibbing and Theiss-Morse's (2002) Stealth Democracy is that, while citizens will indeed dislike campaigns, they do not necessarily desire more deliberation, debate, and discussion of issues. Instead they want simple cues that allow them to size up candidates with minimal effort. In this article, we test these theories with survey and focus ...