Mugwumps and never trumps: the rhetoric of party bolting and party repair
Political partisanship has long occupied a central position in the study of American political rhetoric, but scholarly understanding of intraparty political communication has lagged behind that of interparty conflict. While disputes between Republicans and Democrats are a significant animating factor in 21st century political life, our understanding of what moves and defines these institutions has largely been left to the rigid empiricism of political science or the functionalism characteristic of much of historiography. This dissertation proposes party repair as a new theory of partisanship and partisan realignment rooted in the study of intraparty political factions and organizational and constitutive rhetoric. Party bolters in the elections of 1884, 1948, and 2016 provide a brief glimpse into the complexities of partisan identification and disidentification occurring outside the traditional framework of critical elections.