Mark Deming is a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of Chicago. Prior to his doctoral studies, Mark completed his MA in International Relations at the University of Chicago’s Committee on International Relations. Mark’s research centers on authoritarian regimes, regime transitions, and political parties and party systems—with a regional focus on Latin America. His research has been funded by the US Department of Education, the University of Chicago’ Center for Latin American Studies, and the University of Chicago’s Center for International Social Science Research.

Mark’s dissertation explains the varied fates of political parties founded by outgoing dictatorships. Why do so-called authoritarian successor parties (ASPs) emerge as major competitive players in fledgling democracies? Mark develops a conflict-based theory to explain ASP survival in Latin America since 1900. ASPs survived when conflict during democratic transition and its immediate aftermath facilitated either of two party strategies: collusion or party-building. When transition occurred amid sustained and widespread demand for economic redistribution or greater political inclusion, such conflict generated a shared perception of threat among political elites of every stripe and facilitated construction of ruling coalitions that encompassed both ASPs and their former opposition. In the absence of such demand, conflict directed against ASPs (e.g., transitional justice or political retribution) facilitated party-building by supplying ASPs with the activist networks and ethos of struggle that are prerequisites for the construction of mass parties.

Mark elucidates and test his conflict-based theory using statistical analysis of ASP fates in Latin America since 1900 as well as detailed qualitative analysis of ASPs in Chile and Peru.