Research

(Working papers available upon request)

"The Corporal as Congressional Candidate" (Working Paper)

Despite norms of military non-participation in politics and regulations inhibiting the political activity of uniformed troops, former service members’ presence in politics is a truism since the founding of the country. In 2018 alone, over 170 candidates with military service ran for congressional office. This paper provides a descriptive account of the campaign messaging employed by military candidates in the 2018 Midterm Elections and assesses how these strategies differ from their civilian counterparts. To describe these choices, I offer a theory of military campaigning that explains how military candidates use their background to construct their image as a candidate. This theory suggests that group stereotypes of military service members and district features affect the campaign rhetoric a candidate employs when presenting themselves to potential voters. Furthermore, public valorization of the military encourages candidates to connect military service to policies beyond traditional military strengths. Military candidates provide a descriptive account of how positive group stereotypes can be used to shape public perceptions of a candidate.

"Tweeting from the Campaign Trenches" (Working Paper)

While military candidates emphasize their service records in the carefully curated world of campaign videos, it remains unclear if these patterns translate to other forms of campaign communication. This chapter details the online campaign messaging employed by military candidates in the 2018 Midterm Elections and assesses how these strategies differ from both their civilian counterparts and formal campaign videos and appearances. To describe campaigning, I offer an updated theory of military campaigning that accounts for differences in the online campaign environment. In the process, this work provides evidence of positive, non-defensive use of identity in online congressional campaigning.

"The Paradox of Veterans' Participation in Congressional Campaigns" (Working Paper)

While military candidates emphasize their service records in the carefully curated world of campaign videos and official tweets, the extent of the impact of the military, congressional campaigns remains unclear. This chapter of my dissertation details the effect of military campaigning using a survey experiment and observational data to show how the revelation of military service records and tailored military messaging affect impressions of candidates, party evaluations, and potential electoral margins. I show that both candidates and parties are evaluated more positively when military service is mentioned, but these features come at the expense of greater politicization of the military.The results highlight the paradox of military candidates - the parties recruiting military candidates benefit at the expense of politicizing in the military.

Co-Authored Work

"Occupational Cues and Candidate Evaluation" (with R. William Horne)

"Veterans as Legislators: The Effect of Military Identity on Voting" (with Nathan Gibson)

Nicole D. Kliewer

PhD Candidate

Department of Politics

Princeton University

 

Email:

nkliewer@princeton.edu