CANCELED Book talk: Upending American Politics: Polarizing Parties, Ideological Elites, and Citizen Activists


Monday, March 23, 2020, 4:15pm to 5:30pm


Allison Dining Room, 5th Floor, Taubman Building, Harvard Kennedy School

Please note that this event has been canceled. 

The Ash Center invites you to a book talk on the recently released "Upending American Politics: Polarizing Parties, Ideological Elites, and Citizen Activists from the Tea Party to the Anti-Trump Resistance." Joining the discussion will be the book's co-editor, Theda Skocpol, the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University and the Director of the Scholars Strategy Network. Joining Skocpol on the panel will be Caroline Tervo, research coordinator in the Harvard Government Department who focuses on citizen grassroots organizing, state and local party building, and the local effects of federal policy changes; and Leah E. Gose, PhD student in the Harvard Sociology Department working on issues related to social policy, organizational sociology, and poverty theory. Moderating the discussion will be Archon Fung, the Winthrop Laflin McCormack Professor of Citizenship and Self-Government at Harvard Kennedy School and director of the Ash Center's Democracy Program.

About the Book 

The election of Barack Obama in 2008 was startling, as was the victory of Donald Trump eight years later. Because both presidents were unusual and gained office backed by Congresses controlled by their own parties, their elections kick-started massive counter-movements. The Tea Party starting in 2009 and the "resistance" after November 2016 transformed America's political landscape. Upending American Politics offers a fresh perspective on recent upheavals, tracking the emergence and spread of local voluntary citizens' groups, the ongoing activities of elite advocacy organizations and consortia of wealthy donors, and the impact of popular and elite efforts on the two major political parties and candidate-led political campaigns. Going well beyond national surveys, Theda Skocpol, Caroline Tervo, and their contributors use organizational documents, interviews, and local visits to probe changing organizational configurations at the national level and in swing states. This volume analyzes conservative politics in the first section and progressive responses in the second to provide a clear overview of US politics as a whole. By highlighting evidence from the state level, it also reveals the important interplay of local and national trends.