Rachel Blum, Ph.D.


Assistant Professor

The University of Oklahoma

Year of PhD: 2016

City: Norman, Oklahoma

Country: United States

About Me:

I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Oklahoma in the Carl Albert Center and the Department of Political Science. Originally from Denver, Colorado, I received my PhD at Georgetown University in May 2016. I specialize in political parties, ideology, political behavior, and computational methods. My book on the Tea Party (How the Tea Party Captured the GOP: Insurgent Factions in American Politics) is available for purchase from the University of Chicago Press. I am a regular contributor to the "Political Junkie" programs on Cincinnati Edition (WVXU/NPR), and provide expert commentary on politics and elections for a variety of news writers. 

Research Interests

Political Parties and Interest Groups

Networks And Politics

Text as Data

Public Opinion

Religion & Politics

Tea Party


Campaigns And Elections

Countries of Interest

United States

My Research:

Topically, my research focuses on the Tea Party, political parties, factions, and ideology.Methodologically, I use social network analysis, natural language processing, survey experiments, interviews, and a variety of other quantitative and qualitative techniques.


Books Written:

(2020) How the Tea Party Captured the GOP: Insurgent Factions in American Politics, University of Chicago Press

The rise of the Tea Party redefined both the Republican Party and how we think about intraparty conflict. What initially appeared to be an anti-Obama protest movement of fiscal conservatives matured into a faction that sought to increase its influence in the Republican Party by any means necessary. Tea Partiers captured the party’s organizational machinery and used it to replace established politicians with Tea Party–style Republicans, eventually laying the groundwork for the nomination and election of a candidate like Donald Trump. In How the Tea Party Captured the GOP, Rachel Marie Blum approaches the Tea Party from the angle of party politics, explaining the Tea Party’s insurgent strategies as those of a party faction. Blum offers a novel theory of factions as miniature parties within parties, discussing how fringe groups can use factions to increase their political influence in the US two-party system. In this richly researched book, the author uncovers how the electoral losses of 2008 sparked disgruntled Republicans to form the Tea Party faction, and the strategies the Tea Party used to wage a systematic takeover of the Republican Party. This book not only illuminates how the Tea Party achieved its influence, but also provides a framework for identifying other factional insurgencies.