September 12, 2018

How the Tea Party Paved the Way for Donald Trump

The Tea Party that arose in 2009 seemed initially focused on bailouts, health care, and taxes. But new research suggests that concerns about cultural change and distrust of distant elites, the same themes that drove Trump supporters, were also central to the Tea Party—not just in the electorate but among activists and even for aligned Members of Congress. Bryan Gervais finds that Tea Partiers in Congress veered rightward on racial concerns and pioneered the social media incivility now associated with President Trump. Rachel Blum finds that the activist network of the Tea Party worked as a party within the Republican Party to reorient its ideology to focus on cultural threats.

The Niskanen Center’s Political Research Digest features up-and-coming researchers delivering fresh insights on the big trends driving American politics today. Get beyond punditry to data-driven understanding of today’s Washington with host and political scientist Matt Grossmann. Each 20-minute episode covers two new cutting-edge studies and interviews two researchers.

You can subscribe to the Political Research Digest on iTunes here.