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Donald Trump and the Roots of Republican Extremism in the US

Unremitting rightward movement of the Republican Party is currently driving asymmetric partisan polarization in the United States. After Democrats won major victories in 2006, 2008, and 2012, Republicans responded by pushing unpopular efforts to cut taxes on the rich, eviscerate labor protections, and slash spending on education, Social Security, and health care.


Drawing from her recent research, Professor Theda Skocpol (Harvard University) explained how sets of organizations expressing two separate currents of right wing extremism – billionaire ultra-free-market fundamentalism and popularly rooted ethno-nationalist resentment – have worked in tandem to remake the Republican Party. Although these elite and popular forces are often in tension, they have fused in a mutually leveraging way in the Donald Trump presidency.          



Theda Skocpol 200x200

Theda Skocpol is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University. She has authored many books, articles, and reports, won many awards, and been elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Academy of Sciences.  Her ongoing research focuses on U.S. conservatives and the Republican Party, the politics of health care policy, and citizen reactions to the Obama and Trump presidencies. Skocpol is also the Director of the Scholars Strategy Network, a nationwide U.S. organization with more than a thousand members and forty chapter that makes the work of university researchers understandable to civic groups, policymakers, and the media.




Peter Trubowitz

Peter Trubowitz (@ptrubowitz) is Professor of International Relations and Director of the US Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Associate Fellow at Chatham House




This event was held on 14 October 2019 and was part of the US Centre's Phelan Family Lecture Series.

Image credit: "State of the Union" by The White House is Public Domain.


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