Theda Skocpol

Mar 11, 2020

Upending American Politics

Polarizing Parties, Ideological Elites, and Citizen Activists from the Tea Party to the Anti-Trump Resistance

Oxford University Press 2020

purchase at bookshop.org

Since 2008, the Tea Party and the Resistance have caused some major shake-ups for the Republican and Democratic parties. The changes fall outside the scope of traditional party politics, and outside the realm of traditional social science research. To better understand what’s going on Theda Skocpol, the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Strategy at Harvard and Director of the Scholars Strategy Network, convened a group of researchers to study the people and organizations and at the heart of these grassroots movements.

Skocpol joins us this week to discuss their findings and the new book (co-edited with Caroline Tervo) Upending American Politics: Polarizing Parties, Ideological Elites, and Citizen Activists from the Tea Party to the Anti-Trump Resistance (Oxford University Press, 2020). Her work in particular focuses on the Tea Party and includes interviews with Tea Party members across the country. We also discuss the Resistance and whether these oppositional forces to the party in power are likely to continue after November’s election.


Jenna Spinelle is a journalism instructor at Penn State, host of the Democracy Works podcast, produced by Penn State’s McCourtney Institute for Democracy.

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