Silver's research focuses on American political development, political institutions, political parties and organizations, campaign strategies, electoral politics, and state and local politics. Silver's research has explored the content of party platforms to assess the strategy of political elites in elections. Overarching themes in Silver's writings include inter-party and intra-party conflict regarding issue positions and overall content of the platforms; as well as discerning the relative salience of economic and cultural issues in the platforms. Silver is currently working on a book manuscript on a typology of party platforms. Silver has served as a policy analyst and legislative director in the New York State Senate.
Explores the national and state party platforms of the Democrats, Whigs, and Republicans in the Nineteenth-Century United States to assess the relative weight of socioeconomic and cultural issues in the relationship between political elites and the electorate. Finds elites chose to focus on socioeconomic issues more than cultural in their platforms, and only emphasized the cultural issues when necessary.
Explores the interaction of the elites of the Democrats and Whig/Republicans in forging their electoral message throughout nineteenth-century America. Finds inter-party polarization and conflict, in which the two major parties tended to emphasize the same issues and offer divergent positions in their platforms.
Assesses the writings and legacies of Howard Zinn. Focuses on Zinn as a scholar-activist, whose legacies engage the academy, activism, and the arts.