Bryan T. Gervais and Irwin L. Morris
How the Tea Party in the House Paved the Way for Trump’s Victory
Oxford University Press 2018
There’s been a lot written about the Tea Party, but nothing focused on members of Congress like the new book, Reactionary Republicans: How the Tea Party in the House Paved the Way for Trump’s Victory (Oxford University Press, 2018) by Bryan T. Gervais and Irwin L. Morris. Gervais is assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and Geography at the University of Texas at San Antonio; Morris is professor and chair of the Department of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, College Park.
In the book, Gervais and Morris disentangle what it meant to be affiliated with the Tea Party in the 112th and 113th congresses. What they suggest is that members of Congress fall into several categories based on self-identification and endorsements by Tea Party interest groups. Using these categories, the authors show the ways that Tea Party members of Congress vote and communicate. They find that Tea Party members resemble other Republican members except when it comes to certain social issues. They also examine social media communications and find that Tea Party members shared messages that were less civil and angrier than other members. These patterns show some of the ways that the Tea Party paved the way for Donald Trump’s campaign and presidential victory in 2016.