• Biography

    Examining American political development through the lens of parties, movements, and political entrepreneurs

    I am currently a Visiting Lecturer at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. I have a PhD from the Department of Political Science at York University, Toronto. My current research focuses on the intersection between institutional and non-institutional forms of politics, specifically the relationship between social movements and political parties, and the agency of political entrepreneurs in transforming both. My work falls within the American Political Development (APD) approach and cross-examines the "exceptional" features of US politics in historical-comparative perspective. My current book project, under contract with Penn Press, offers a reinterpretation of the post-1968 New Politics reform movement and its attempt to democratize the Democratic Party in the early 1970s.

  • Book Project

    From New Deal to Neoliberalism: The New Politics Insurgency and the Transformation of the Democratic Party


    My book is about the rise and fall of the New Politics movement and its struggle to reform the Democratic Party in the late 1960s and early 1970s. As a network of actors from the civil rights, student, antiwar, and feminist movements, along with many reform-oriented public officeholders and labor leaders, New Politics reformers sought to overcome the limits of the New Deal’s coalition with southern conservatives and cold warriors by transforming the party’s representative institutions and democratizing its internal decision-making processes. Reformers demanded greater transparency in party rules and procedures, greater access for meaningful citizen participation in the selection of the party’s presidential nominee, and stronger mechanisms of officeholder accountability to hold Democrats to the party platform. Counter-reformers, however, successfully subverted reformers’ party-building initiatives by mobilizing party stakeholders against the reforms they claimed resulted in the disastrous presidential candidacy of George McGovern. The course of this intraparty conflict reshaped the identity of the Democratic Party and paved the way for the retreat of the party from postwar liberalism.

  • Publications and media

    Peer-Edited and Scholarly Publications

    • “The Politics Insurgents Make: Reconstructive Reformers in American and British Postwar Party Development,” Polity (forthcoming).
    • "Is it Time to Break with the Democrats? A Response to J. Phillip Thompson," New Labor Forum 27 (1), 2018.
    • “Organized for Democracy? Left Challenges Inside the Democratic Party,” in Leo Panitch and Greg Albo, eds, Socialist Register 2018: Rethinking Democracy (London: Merlin Press, 2017).
    • “Searching for a New Politics: The New Politics Movement and the Struggle to Democratize the Democratic Party, 1968-1978,” New Political Science 38 (2), 2016.
    • “The View from the Top: Robert Caro’s Portraiture of Lyndon Johnson,” New Political Science 37 (1), 2015.

    Works in Progress

    • From New Deal to Neoliberalism: The New Politics Insurgency and the Transformation of the Democratic Party (under contract with the University of Pennsylvania Press).
    • “Reform Interrupted: McGovern-Fraser, Counter-Reformers, and the Roots of Polarization,” Studies in American Political Development (R&R).
    • The Politics Insurgents Make: Party Transformations from TR to Trump (Book Project)
    • “The Other Right to Work: Full Employment and the Limits of Postwar Liberalism” (article for Journal of Policy History)

    Other Publications

    •  “The Democratic Party’s latest reform commission just met. It’s likely to slash the power of superdelegates,” Washington Post, 12 December 2017.
    • “Donna Brazile Reveals the Obvious,” Jacobin Magazine, 15 October 2017.
    • “Searching for New Politics,” Jacobin Magazine 20 (Spring), 2016.
    • “Bernie and the Search for New Politics,” Jacobin Magazine, 24 June 2015.

  • Teaching

    Mount Holyoke College

    July 2016 - Present

    Visiting Lecturer: American Politics; 2016 Election in Real Time; Parties and Movements in American Politics; US Elections; American Political Development; Why Is There No Socialism in the United States?

    York University, Toronto

    September 2010 - April 2016

    Course Director: Race and Inequality in the Postwar American City

    Teaching Assistant: The Future of Work; Classics in Western Political Thought; Canadian Political Economy

  • Contact

    Adam Hilton, Visiting Lecturer in Politics, Mount Holyoke College

    108 Skinner Hall
    Mount Holyoke College
    50 College St.
    South Hadley, MA
    T/Th 4-5 PM
    413 538 2325
  • Download Resume

    Get a copy of my CV.