Alex P. Smith
Alex is a Teaching Assistant Professor at Oklahoma State University and received his Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Florida. In the summers of 2022 and 2023, he will be in Washington, DC as a Library of Congress Fellow in Congressional Policymaking and working on his book project. Alex's primary field is American Institutions, with minor fields in Public Policy & Administration, and Political Theory. His research focuses on political negotiation, Congress, American Political Development, and policy change.
Alex's research builds on William Riker's (1986) theory of heresthetic by highlighting the role strategic voting and dimension manipulation play in overcoming gridlock in Congress and other legislative bodies. Heresthetic provides a helpful lens into understanding what legislators do when they craft and deliberate policies, and why they adopt certain strategies. However, such strategies often come with trade-offs not addressed by Riker, as political feasibility is prioritized over policy efficiency and ideology. In 2023, Alex will give a talk about his book project at the Library of Congress, hosted by the John W. Kluge Center. In 2019, he received a Congressional Research Grant from The Dirksen Congressional Center to conduct archival research for this project.
Alex received his Ph.D. and Master's Degrees from UF and Bachelor's Degree from Wheaton College (IL). Before starting graduate school, Alex worked for five years in legislative politics: over a year in the District Office of former Congressman Peter J. Roskam (IL-06), and three and a half years at the Minnesota House of Representatives (including two years staffing the Ways and Means Committee). These experiences provided invaluable exposure to the inner workings of the legislative and executive branches of government at both the state and national levels and helped inspire his research interests.
When not researching or teaching politics, Alex enjoys watching the Chicago Cubs, Iowa wrestling, running, cooking (especially making barbecue on his smoker), and spending time with his family.