Eric R. Schmidt is a Ph.D. Candidate (expected graduation date: spring 2021), with concentrations in American Politics and Quantitative Research Methods. He is the recipient of a College of Arts and Sciences Dissertation Research Fellowship (2019-2020), and his peer-reviewed work has been published in Political Behavior and Social Science Quarterly; with forthcoming contributions (co-authored with Edward G. Carmines) in P.S.: Political Science & Politics and the Palgrave Handbook of Populism. Schmidt's research interests include mass partisanship and ideology, public opinion, decision-making and heuristics. In his dissertation research, Schmidt argues -- using a variety of observational and experimental data -- that it is easier for U.S. citizens to understand the policies and ideologies that parties champion, rather than the group coalitions that parties purport to represent. While group attachments have historically anchored citizens' feelings about the parties, the polarization of elites -- together, paradoxically, with the rise of group politics in party organizations -- has made ideology the easiest framework for citizens seeking to make sense of partisan conflict.