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date: 08 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Historical institutional scholars can analyze politics as it happens, not just developments long past. A powerful theoretical approach should give clear guidance about questions worth asking and pinpoint factors that need to be taken into account to explain current and possible future developments. Historical institutional analysis stresses timing and sequence, institutional contexts, and policy feedbacks – factors that are crucial for deciphering immediately unfolding political transformations. To illustrate the point, this chapter dissects the early Obama presidency, examining why its reformist goals succeeded in some policy areas but fell short in others. In addition, the chapter explores how and why the Tea Party erupted and pushed the Republican Party further to the extreme right during the Obama presidency

Keywords: American political development, historical institutionalism, public policy, Obama presidency, Tea Party, Republican Party

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