This Independent Study seeks to understand how political parties create their platforms. Specifically, this study examines how, when, and why political parties cater to the interests of interest groups and the electorate regarding immigration policy. Three qualitative case studies are examined: 1984, 2004, and 2016 party platforms and the corresponding policy preferences of interest groups and the electorate. Bawn et. al’s theory on political parties forms the theoretical framework of this study, which claims that parties are likely to cater to interest groups when political salience is low and parties are likely to cater to the electorate when political salience is high. Ultimately, I find that Bawn et. al’s theory applies well to my case studies. This study provides insight into how parties are motivated to change, especially within the context of immigration.


Moskowitz, Eric

Second Advisor

Van Doorn, Bas


Political Science


Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Public Policy


Immigration, Political Parties, Interest Groups

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar

Included in

Public Policy Commons



© Copyright 2017 Scott D. Sears