The Tea Party Divided
The Hidden Diversity of a Maturing Movement
by Heath Brown
August 2015, 165pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-3644-2
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3645-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

The birth of the Tea Party has been traced to a CNBC broadcast in 2009.

Unlike previous books on the Tea Party, this work looks at the second phase of party growth to show that what was once considered a monolithic movement is truly a collection of different opinions.

Since the Tea Party exploded onto the American political scene, it has matured and changed, but the differences that now exist within the movement are largely unacknowledged. A more nuanced understanding is called for. Previous treatises have sought explanations for the rise of the movement and focused primarily on its early days. This book, in contrast, focuses on understanding the diversity within the party, challenging the notion that the Tea Party is a homogeneous political movement defined mainly by its ultra-conservatism, regionalism, and rigid political orthodoxy.

To accurately depict the Tea Party as it exists today, the book explores how the party evolved from its first phase to its second, examining important distinctions in terms of who has joined and who has served in Congress and other offices. Differences in Tea Party organizations around the country are examined and their funding sources considered. The book also explores the political positions taken by Tea Party members, looking at the voting records of party legislators to see if they’ve adhered to stated movement objectives. Finally, and perhaps most intriguingly, the author speculates on what this all means and suggests possible futures for the diverse Tea Party strands.


  • Looks at the differences in Tea Party organizations around the country, including their funding sources
  • Analyzes the political positions taken by party members and the voting records of congressional Tea Party legislators
  • Shows the variations among Tea Party members, including regional, gender, and issue differences
  • Analyzes Tea Party campaign spending and funding sources
  • Offers predictions about the party's future
Heath Brown, PhD, is assistant professor of public policy at the City University of New York, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and The Graduate Center, New York, NY. He is author of Lobbying the New President: Interests in Transition and Praeger's The Tea Party Divided: The Hidden Diversity of a Maturing Movement. He is also reviews editor for Interest Groups & Advocacy.


"Heath Brown has succeeded admirably at an ambitious and difficult task— writing about the Tea Party movement in a way that is relevant, novel, and serious. Brown writes clearly, lucidly, and often in arresting prose, and the book is nicely analyzed and thoroughly detailed."—Glenn Feldman, University of Alabama at Birmingham

"While the Tea Party has inspired considerable scholarship, the majority of it has been focused on the movement’s early days. But movements are rarely static, and the great virtue of Heath Brown’s welcome book is to show that the Tea Party is no exception to this rule. By focusing on its evolution from 2009 to the present, Brown has deepened our knowledge of this important and surprisingly diverse movement." —Doug McAdam, author of Deeply Divided: Racial Politics and Social Movements in Postwar America

"This book challenges two common assertions about the Tea Party: that it arose spontaneously from a 2009 TV rant and that it can be simply characterized as a uniform movement. Using survey data, case studies, and the synthesis of existing work, this book offers the most compelling account to date of the Tea Party as a diverse, ever-evolving movement, cloaked in conservative history and struggling to envision its own future."—John Hudak, Fellow, Governance Studies, The Brookings Institution
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