With his new book Back to America: Identity, Political Culture, and the Tea Party Movement
(University of Nebraska, 2019), Professor William Westermeyer
explores the once-powerful Tea Party Movement and the changing nature of political culture in the contemporary United States. Through extended fieldwork with local Tea Party groups, he documents the distinctive cultural world of the Tea Party Movement and the personal journeys that drew participants to it. He identifies feelings of political dislocation and disempowerment among Tea Party members, as well as fears about the perceived decline of the country due to secularization. Westermeyer addresses issues of race within the Tea Party as well, arguing that dismissing the Tea Party as a white supremacist movement misses the complexity of how Tea Party members think about and talk about race. He also considers tensions and differences within and between local Tea Party groups, as well as their varying relationships to the national movement. Ultimately, Westermeyer argues, understanding the Tea Party movement—its popularity and the cultural world it figured—is as crucial today as it was during the Party’s heyday, for while the Tea Party Movement and Trumpism are not the same thing, Westermeyer writes, “as Mark Twain might have said, they sure rhyme.”
Carrie Lane is a Professor of American Studies at California State University, Fullerton and author of
A Company of One: Insecurity, Independence, and the New World of White-Collar Unemployment. Her research concerns the changing nature of work in the contemporary U.S. She is currently writing a book on the professional organizing industry. To contact her or to suggest a recent title, email firstname.lastname@example.org.