Sidney Milkis

White Burkett Miller Professor of Governance and Foreign Affairs

Fast Facts


Areas Of Expertise

  • Social Issues
  • Governance
  • Elections
  • Founding and Shaping of the Nation
  • Political Parties and Movements
  • Politics
  • The Presidency

Sidney M. Milkis is the White Burkett Miller Professor of Governance and Foreign Affairs and a professor of politics. His research focuses on the American presidency, political parties and elections, social movements, and American political development. In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate students, he regularly gives public lectures on American politics and participates in programs for international scholars and high school teachers that probe the deep historical roots of contemporary developments in the United States. 

Milkis earned a BA degree from Muhlenberg College and a PhD in political science from the University of Pennsylvania.

Sidney Milkis News Feed

Sidney Milkis, the White Burkett Miller professor in the department of politics and faculty fellow at the Miller Center, joins BRI fellow, Tony Williams, to discuss Milkis's book "What happened to the vital center?: presidentialism, populist revolt, and the fracturing of America."
Sidney Milkis Bill of Rights Institute
Nearly 250 years ago, America's founders declared that everyone has "unalienable rights." What those rights are has been debated ever since. As the Supreme Court weighs the future of abortion rights the nation's divide has come into sharper focus, as growing political polarization plays out in the midterms. University of Virginia politics professor Sidney Milkis joins Judy Woodruff to discuss.
Sidney Milkis PBS NewsHour
On the campaign trail and at his inauguration, Joe Biden pledged, above all else, to be a uniter to restore the soul of America. At the end of his first year in office, many campaign promises have been met, but unity has not been one. Far from transcending partisanship as promised, Biden has embraced the levers of presidential discretion and power inherent within the modern executive office to advance partisan objectives. He is not just a victim of polarization, but actively contributes to it.
Sidney Milkis The Forum
An assault on the modern presidency following Watergate did not really restore checks and balances; rather, it revamped the Madisonian system for partisan confrontation.
Many students of American history credit the Populist movement as a successful revolt, but these accounts often overlook the anti-partyism that infused the Populist crusade. Nevertheless, such favorable accounts of the agrarian revolt make two analytical mistakes in understanding Populism and partisanship: first, they often neglect how the Populist movement sought to demolish, not remake, the two-party system.
While populism cuts a deep current through American political history, so too does its antithesis. Standing in its path is a form of constitutional politics—the practice of persuasion, negotiation, and compromise, the art of acknowledging irreconcilable differences, of appreciating diversity in how people want to live their own lives, and of recognizing the limits to collective action. Populism is vindictive, spurred by the desire to seek revenge on those in power because of a sense of prolonged injustice.