To explain the distinct but intertwined popular and elite roots of Republican extremism in the United States, Skocpol draws on her research on the Tea Party, on the Koch political network, and on local developments in eight pro-Trump counties in non-big-city areas of North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin. In that latter project, she is repeatedly visiting the study counties and conducting interviews with residents, local media, and community leaders to discover their reactions to political conflicts and policy shifts in the unfolding Trump presidency.
A note from Jean Cohen, project organizer:
Everyone seems to be writing on populism these days, which is unsurprising given the global rise of populist movements, parties, and leaders. But the relationship of populism to religion remains understudied. In response, IRCPL has organized a three-part speaker series on Populism and Religion. With this series, we aim to illuminate the broad yet distinctive nature of populism(s) by analyzing their region-specific histories, the religious posturing of populist groups on both sides of the political spectrum, and the unique rhetorics used by populist movements to appeal to the general public.
Theda Skocpol is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University. Over the last two decades, her research has primarily focused on health care reform, public policy, and civic engagement amidst the shifting inequalities in American democracy. Among the many books she has authored or co-authored are Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life; Health Care Reform and American Politics; and The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism. In addition to her teaching and research, Skocpol serves as the Director of the Scholars Strategy Network, an organization with dozens of regional chapters that encourages nonpartisan public engagement by university-based scholars, building ties between academics and policymakers, civic groups, and journalists.