Director of the Scholars Strategy Network and Co-Director of the Boston SSN Regional Network; Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology, Harvard University
Expertise & Civic Involvements
Skocpol’s research focuses on health reform, social policy, and civic engagement amidst the shifting inequalities in American democracy. Current projects include tracking the implementation of health reform in the U.S. states; analyzing the dynamics of local Tea Party groups; and probing how the Democratic Party has handled – and mishandled – political battles over taxes and public revenues. Skocpol speaks regularly to community groups and writes for blogs and public-interest magazines. She has met with groups of Congressional Democrats and attended White House sessions that included the president during the Clinton years.
Why U.S. Conservatives Shape Legislation across the Fifty States Much More Effectively than LiberalsCo-Authored with Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, SSN Key Findings, April 2015
Co-Authored with Lawrence R. Jacobs, SSN Basic Facts, February 2015
Why Congressional Budget Office Reports are the Best Evidence of Congressional Intent about Health SubsidiesSSN Basic Facts, January 2015
SSN Basic Facts, February 2014
Co-Authored with Colleen M. Grogan, Katherine Swartz, SSN Basic Facts, January 2014
SSN Basic Facts, January 2014
Co-Authored with Lawrence R. Jacobs, SSN Basic Facts, November 2013
SSN Key Findings, August 2013
Co-Authored with Peter Evans, SSN Civic Engagement, August 2013
Co-Authored with Lawrence R. Jacobs, SSN Basic Facts, June 2013
Co-Authored with Lawrence R. Jacobs, SSN Basic Facts, June 2013
Co-Authored with Vanessa Williamson, SSN Key Findings, February 2013
Co-Authored with David Brian Robertson, SSN Basic Facts, September 2012
SSN Basic Facts, July 2012
Co-Authored with Luke Shaefer, SSN Basic Facts, July 2012
SSN Basic Facts, May 2012
Co-Authored with Benjamin Veghte, SSN Basic Facts, April 2012
Co-Authored with Vanessa Williamson, SSN Key Findings, October 2011
"Naming the Problem: What It Will Take to Counter Extremism and Engage Americans in the Fight against Global Warming," Rockefeller Family Fund, January, 2013. Dissects the 111th Congress' failure to pass "cap and trade" legislation and suggests actions for environmental advocates that will improve the chances of passing such legislation in the future.
The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism (with ) (Oxford University Press, 2012). Shows how grassroots activism, the right-wing media, and elite funders and policy advocates interact to allow the Tea Party to boost the GOP and prod it to the hard right. Includes interviews with grass roots activists and an analysis of the role of the Tea Party in the 2010 and 2012 elections.
Reaching for a New Deal: Ambitious Governance, Economic Meltdown, and Polarized Politics in Obama’s First Two Years (with ) (Russell Sage Foundation, 2011). Offers an overview of the policy successes and failures of the early Obama presidency – and explains why, despite many reform accomplishments, Obama and the Democrats have faced uphill political battles, right-wing obstruction, and popular disillusionment.
Health Care Reform and American Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know (with ) (Oxford University Press, 2010). Traces how the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 and explains why this health reform will benefit the vast majority of Americans. Looks at ongoing political controversies over repeal and implementation.
Civic Engagement in American Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life (University of Oklahoma Press, 2003). Looks at civic voluntarism from the American Revolution through the late twentieth century, showing that Americans once organized membership associations that involved dues-paying members across class lines and linked local groups to state and national politics. After the 1960s, membership associations declined while professionally led organizations proliferated, leaving many ordinary citizens on the outside looking in.
The Missing Middle: Working Families and the Future of American Social Policy (Norton, 2000). Successful social programs in U.S. democracy bridge the needs and values of the middle class and the less privileged. Citizens get support in return for making contributions to the nation. Explains why this formula for popular and effective social programs has fallen apart in recent decades, and considers how it might be revived.
- "Will Maine Share in Health Reform’s Success or Follow Old Confederacy?," Bangor Daily News, July 21, 2015.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on government job guarantee in Sean McElwee, "The Economic Plan That Could Save America (but Scares Conservative Billionaires Senseless)" Salon, June 29, 2015.
- Interview on SCOTUS's King v. Burwell decision, Health Leaders Media, July 1, 2015.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on Obama's success in achieving access to healthcare when previous administrations could not in Dylan Matthews, "Barack Obama is Officially One of the Most Consequential Presidents in American History" Vox, June 26, 2015.
- "A Turning Point for Health Care — and Its G.O.P. Opponents" (with ), New York Times, June 25, 2015.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on measuring the success of cap-and-trade bills at the state level in Eryn Brown, "Do a State's Politics Influence Its Greenhouse Gas Emissions? Yes, Study Says" Los Angeles Times, June 15, 2015.
- Theda Skocpol's research on King v. Burwell discussed in , "Why the GOP Loses if the ObamaCare Lawsuit Wins," The Washington Post, June 1, 2015.
- "Wells Report Distorts Workplace Realities," Boston Globe, May 18, 2015.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on physicians and party loyalty in Lisa Rapaport, "More American Doctors Favor Democrats" Reuters, April 27, 2015.
- "ObamaCare's Remarkable Progress" (with ), The Hill, April 2, 2015.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on the strength and future course of the Tea Party in Lisa Riley Roche, "Tea Party Movement Still Strong, Harvard Professor Tells U. Students" Deseret News, March 26, 2015.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on political problems facing Republicans over King vs. Burwell in Rick Cohen, "Theda Skocpol on the Self-Imposed ACA Quandary of Republican Governors" Nonprofit Quarterly, February 23, 2015.
- "Who's Afraid of a Health-Care Ruling?," The Atlantic, February 20, 2015.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on how a pro-King ruling would backfire politically on Republicans in Congress and many states in Charles Gaba, "The Latest on the King Thing" ACASignups.net, January 27, 2015.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on the negative consequences that overturning Obamacare subsidies would have for the Republican party in Sahil Kapur, "SCOTUS Ruling against Obamacare Threatens GOP in 2016 Swing States" Talking Points Memo, January 20, 2015.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the Congressional Budget Office's reports on Affordable Care discussed in , "CBO Undercut the SCOTUS Case against O-Care 68 Times," Talking Points Memo, January 16, 2015.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the Congressional Budget Office's reports on Affordable Care discussed in , "No, Congress Never Intended to Limit Obamacare Subsidies to State Exchanges," Mother Jones, January 16, 2015.
- "Analysis: CBO Contradicted the Latest Case against ObamaCare 68 Different Times," Interview with Sarah Kliff, Vox, January 16, 2015.
- "53 Historians Weigh in on Obama's Legacy," New York Magazine, January 11, 2015.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on internal divisions among House Republicans in Ned Resnikoff, "House Republican Skirmish over Top Spot Could Expose Party Fissures" Al Jazeera America, January 5, 2015.
- "'Grubergate' Shows the Sad State of Debate on ObamaCare," Los Angeles Times, December 9, 2014.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on the Benghazi report in Daniel Strauss, "The Benghazi Report Truthers: Even the GOP Can't Get to the Bottom of It" Talking Points Memo, December 3, 2014.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on Tea Party stance on immigration in Elias Isquith, "Tom Coburn’s Lunacy and the Real Meaning of the Immigration Fight" Salon, November 20, 2014.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on the future of ObamaCare in Michael Tomasky, "Will GOP Govs Really Rescue Obamacare?" The Daily Beast, November 12, 2014.
- "Tea Party’s “Intensified War”: Why the GOP’s Happy Time is about to End," Interview with Elias Isquith, Salon, October 28, 2014.
- "Both Parties are Keeping Americans in the Dark about Healthcare Reform" (with ), The Hill, October 13, 2014.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in Christopher Cheney, "PPACA Still Faces Hurdles, Academics Say" HealthLeaders Media, October 7, 2014.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on how Americans express doubts about government in Jon Greenberg, "George Will: America Hasn't Had Sustained Confidence in Government since Ronald Reagan" PunditFact, October 5, 2014.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on how much nineteenth- and early twentieth-century women did to lay the groundwork for the welfare state in Rebecca Traister and Judith Shulevitz, "Feminism Has Conquered the Culture. Now Comes the Hard Part." New Republic, September 14, 2014.
- "The Unfortunate Turn against Performance Politics in US.. Elections" (with ), The Hill, September 5, 2014.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on demographics of citizens who support impeachment of President Obama, "Juan Williams: People Who Want Impeachment are White, Old and Republican" PunditFact, August 3, 2014.
- "Where Pragmatism about Health Reform Lives" (with ), The Hill, July 8, 2014.
- "ObamaCare is Working. Why Isn’t Maine Taking Full Advantage of It?," Bangor Daily News, July 4, 2014.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on the persistence of the Tea Party in Allison Kopicki, "Support is Thin for Tea Party, but It Retains Its Muscle" New York Times, June 24, 2014.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on the Tea Party's attitudes toward intellectualism and the "culture of ideas" in Jack Stripling, "Higher Ed, the Tea Party’s Unlikely Farm Team" Chronicle of Higher Education, June 12, 2014.
- "Commentary: Progressives and the White Working Class," Roundtable, The Democratic Strategist, June 2014.
- "How Strong is the Tea Party? They've Won by Leverage, Not Popularity," Room for Debate, New York Times, May 18, 2014.
- Theda Skocpol's research on conservative media (with Vanessa Williamson) discussed in , "Fox News' Divisive Race Strategy: How O'Reilly, Hannity and Coulter Intentionally Tore America Apart," Salon, May 17, 2014.
- "Organize to Re-Democratize the Nation," Room for Debate, New York Times, April 21, 2014.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on the possibility of a voting rights amendment in Isaac Buck, "Piecemeal Suffrage" Harvard Political Review, April 20, 2014.
- "Republicans Need to Suck It Up and Learn to Love ObamaCare," Talking Points Memo, April 4, 2014.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on similarities between the path to implementing Social Security and the Affordable Care Act in Matt Bai, "What Really Matters on Health Care: Making It Work" Yahoo News, March 27, 2014.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the true nature of the Tea Party discussed in , "Both Sides Not Equally at Fault in Washington," CNN, February 17, 2014.
- Theda Skocpol's research on "job lock" discussed in , "Why Americans Work," Talking Points Memo, February 10, 2014.
- Theda Skocpol's research on "job lock" and health care reform discussed in , "Meet the Press," NBC News, February 9, 2014.
- "ObamaCare Cures 'Job Lock'" (with ), USA Today, February 6, 2014.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on Ted Cruz's staffing decisions, "Outside Groups Hail Fired GOPer as 'Conservative Fireball' under Ted Cruz" Talking Points Memo, January 14, 2014.
- Theda Skocpol's research on how health care coverage is proceeding in the 50 states discussed in , "States Edge Closer to Medicaid Expansion: Who'll Go First?," The Daily Beast, January 8, 2014.
- Theda Skocpol's research on differences in insurance enrollment between ACA-compliant and obstructionist states discussed in , "The Price of GOP ObamaCare Sabotage in One Chart," Talking Points Memo, January 6, 2014.
- "The Christmas Story, as Told by the Affordable Care Act," Talking Points Memo, December 24, 2013.
- "Why the Tea Party's Hold Persists," Democracy, Winter 2014.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on the limitations of environmentalists' message, "Mapping Environmentalism's Role Ahead" E&E News, December 9, 2013.
- "The White House 'Fix'," Talking Points Memo, November 15, 2013.
- Guest to discuss the current state of conservative extremism on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show", October 23, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol's research on distinctions between Tea Party and less ideologically dogmatic Republicans discussed in , "Republicans Lose Budget Battle, but U.S. Fiscal War May Continue," Deutsche Welle, October 17, 2013.
- "Tea Partyers' Grave Fear: Why They Disdain Young People - Even Their Own!," Interview with Josh Eidelson, Salon, October 17, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on Tea Party Activism, "Will the Kamikaze Caucus Doom the GOP?" National Journal, October 10, 2013.
- "The Left Thinks Business Controls the Republican Party. They're Wrong.," Interview with Ezra Klein, Washington Post, October 8, 2013.
- "Worst Shutdown in Modern U.S. History" (with ), CNN, October 2, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on Tea Party activism, "Why the Health Care Law Scares the GOP" New York Times, October 1, 2013.
- "What Does Health Reform Do for Americans?" (with ), OUPblog, September 23, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the social safety net, and how to effectively implement ObamaCare discussed in , "How to End the ObamaCare Debate," National Journal, September 19, 2013.
- "Could 'ObamaCare' be Accepted in Oklahoma by Another Name?," Tulsa World, August 7, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol's research on future prospects for cap-and-trade legislation to be enacted in the U.S. discussed in , "Americans and Australians on Carbon-Control Politics," PolitiFact, July 30, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the continuing power of the Tea Party discussed in , "The Tea Party Isn't Dead Yet," The Daily Beast, July 29, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the future of the cap-and-trade movement discussed in , "Changing the Climate Debate," Pundit Wire, July 12, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the politics of global warming and the Obama administration's recent approach to environmental policy discussed in , "Obama Channels His Inner Al Gore in Climate Change Messaging Shift," The Hill, July 6, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the failure of cap-and-trade leadership discussed in , "Climate of Change: What Does an Inside-Outside Strategy Mean?," Dissent, Summer 2013.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on the divestment movement, "United Church of Christ is First National Church Group to Divest from Fossil Fuel Investments" Washington Post, July 3, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol's research on changing attitudes on marriage equality discussed in , "Tracking a Cultural Shift," The Harvard Gazette, June 25, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the decline in number of Tea Party groups discussed in , "This is Not 2009," New York Times, May 24, 2013.
- "Five Minutes with Theda Skocpol," Interview with EUROPP’s Editors, London School of Economics, May 13, 2013.
- "On Social Security, Tap the Wealthy to Support a Program for All," Room for Debate, New York Times, April 17, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol's research on climate-change legislation and organizing discussed in , "When the Earth Moved," The New Yorker, April 15, 2013.
- Guest to discuss the failure of cap-and-trade legislation and the movement toward a green economy on HPR's "Town Square" (with ), March 14, 2013.
- "Learning from the Cap-and-Trade Debate," Grist, March 6, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on the regressive nature of social welfare taxes, "The War on Entitlements" New York Times, March 6, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the failure to pass climate change legislation discussed in , "Controversial Study Probes Reasons for Climate Bill Failure," Environmental Building News, February 7, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the way forward for climate legislation discussed in , "Harvard Professor Has It Right: U.S. Climate Push Requires Intense Grassroots Support around 'Cap-and-Dividend' Bill," Grist, February 1, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the failure of environmental leaders to pass climate change legislation discussed in , "U.S. Environmentalists Challenged to Get Climate Change Laws through Congress," The Guardian, January 17, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the failure to pass climate change legislation discussed in , "Why Has Climate Legislation Failed? An Interview with Theda Skocpol," The Washington Post, January 16, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the past and future of cap-and-trade legislation discussed in , "Beyond Baby Steps: Analyzing the Cap-and-Trade Flop," Grist, January 14, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the failure to pass cap-and-trade legislation discussed in , "Why the Environmental Movement Couldn't Get Cap-and-Trade Passed," Grist, January 14, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol quoted on their book, "The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism", "The Ten Best Political Books of 2012" The New Yorker, December 14, 2012.
- "Bringing Academics into the Grassroots Game," The American Prospect, December 14, 2012.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the future of the Republican Party discussed in , "The Republican Party: Desperately Seeking Voters," DW, November 20, 2012.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the role of the super-rich in the 2012 presidential election and beyond discussed in , "Obama, the Super Rich, and the Election," Reuters, November 8, 2012.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the Obama administration and and economic policy discussed in , "Who Gets Credit for the Economy's Recovery?," New York Times, October 26, 2012.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the Obama presidency, presented in her book "Obama and America's Political Future" discussed in , "Obama Makes His Case amidst Reagan's Shadow," Reuters, September 6, 2012.
- "Majority of New Mexico Better Off under ObamaCare" (with ), The Albuquerque Journal, September 24, 2012.
- "Paul Ryan's Budget Plan Could Hurt Many Missourians" (with ), St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 18, 2012.
- "A Fairer Tax Future," A Symposium: Democratic Advise for Obama's Second Term, The Wall Street Journal, September 4, 2012.
- "Why the Tea Party Still Matters: Theda Skocpol’s ‘Obama and America’s Political Future’," Interview with Jesse Singal, The Daily Beast, August 29, 2012.
- "With the Ryan Budget, the Wealthy Win while Most Michiganders Lose" (with ), The Detroit Free Press, August 19, 2012.
- "What Does the Tea Party Stand For?," Interview with Kara Miller, WGBH, August 1, 2012.
- "Affordable Care Lives: A Benefit and Challenge for Maine," Opinion, Bangor Daily News, June 29, 2012.
- "Bending Toward Universal Health Care" (with ), Campaign Stops, New York Times, June 28, 2012.
- "Getting Past Healthcare's Individual Mandate" (with ), Los Angeles Times, June 20, 2012.
- Interview on the 2012 presidential election, Juncture, May 22, 2012.
- "Mitt Romney, the Stealth Tea Party Candidate," The Washington Post, February 3, 2012.
- Interview on The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism, The Rachel Maddow Show, December 9, 2011.
- "Can Republicans Rescind Obamacare?" (with ), Los Angeles Times, October 31, 2010.
- Regular contributions to the Arena on Politico.com.