In Change They Can’t Believe In by Christopher Parker and Matt Barreto, they examined the extent to which the Tea Party were who they claimed to be. In their social research, they found that the Tea Party were about reactionary impulse against social change. Similar to the Know-Nothing Party in the 1850s on the Catholic immigrants, the KKK on the “New Negro” in the United States after WWI and the John Birch Society around 1950s-60s on the civil rights movement. In their upcoming book The Great White Hope, they will look into Trump supporters and people of color to see the factors that motivated people to vote for Trump.
Based on their empirical findings, they argued that Trump’s rise, supported by the Tea Party, was fueled by an existential threat. The threat was that “Real Americans, America that they have come to know and love are changing too fast, and it’s going away, and they will do anything to retain that.” The threats that they mentioned were the change of the “Real American’s” status, the issue of immigration, and what the Obama administration represented. Economic anxiety, attitudes about global trade deals, the prior conventional wisdom had virtually nothing to do with motivating Trump’s voter to vote for him.
For the video of the lecture the University of Florida - Gainesville, please click here.