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Partisans: The Conservative Revolutionaries Who Remade American Politics in the 1990s

October 13, 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 7:15 pm



The Center for Presidential History welcomes Nicole Hemmer (Vanderbilt University) as she discusses her new book Partisans: The Conservative Revolutionaries Who Remade American Politics in the 1990s . Hemmer offers a bold new history of modern conservatism that finds its origins in the populist right-wing politics of the 1990s.

Ronald Reagan has long been lionized for building a conservative coalition sustained by an optimistic vision of American exceptionalism, small government, and free markets. But as historian Nicole Hemmer reveals, the Reagan coalition was short-lived; it fell apart as soon as its charismatic leader left office. In the 1990s — a decade that has yet to be recognized as the breeding ground for today’s polarizing politics — changing demographics and the emergence of a new political-entertainment media fueled the rise of combative far-right politicians and pundits. These partisans, from Pat Buchanan and Newt Gingrich to Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham, forged a new American right that emphasized anti-globalism, appeals to white resentment, and skepticism about democracy itself.

Nicole Hemmer is associate professor of history and director of the Carolyn T. and Robert M. Rogers Center for the Study of the Presidency at Vanderbilt University. She is a columnist at CNN, and hosts the podcasts Past Present and This Day in Esoteric Political History. In 2017, she co-founded Made by History, the historical analysis section of the Washington Post, where she was an editor until 2020.

A Preview Interview with Dr. Nicole Hemmer

Maps and directions to SMU.

Further Reading

Here, you’ll find more resources to feed your interest in the topics covered at this event.

More by Dr. Hemmer

Hemmer, Nicole. Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016.

Hemmer, Nicole. “The Man Who Won the Republican Party Before Trump Did.” The New York Times, 2022. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/08/opinion/pat-buchanan-donald-trump.html

Hemmer, Nicole. “Why America keeps re-living the 1990s.” CNN, 2022. https://www.cnn.com/2022/09/09/opinions/newt-gingrich-kevin-mccarthy-reliving-the-1990s-hemmer/index.html

Primary Sources


Secondary Sources

Desilver, Drew. “The polarization in today’s Congress has roots that go back decades.” Pew Research Center, 2022. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/03/10/the-polarization-in-todays-congress-has-roots-that-go-back-decades/

Graham, Jennifer. “America after 25 years of Fox News.” Deseret News, 2021. https://www.deseret.com/2021/9/30/22688580/america-after-25-years-of-fox-news-roger-ailes-rupert-murdoch-tucker-carlson

Greenfield, Jeff. “Trump Is Pat Buchanan With Better Timing.” Politico Magazine, 2016. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/09/donald-trump-pat-buchanan-republican-america-first-nativist-214221/

Harris, Mary. “Rush Is Dead, but We’re Still Living in the World He Created.” The Slate, 2021. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2021/02/rush-limbaugh-republican-party-conservative-media.html

Rust, Owen. “The Economic Effects of the Cold War: Conservatism Plus Deficit Spending.” The Collector, 2021. https://www.thecollector.com/economic-effects-cold-war-conservatism-deficit-spending/

Zelizer, Julian. Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, the Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party. Penguin Press, 2020.


October 13, 2022
6:00 pm - 7:15 pm


Dallas Hall 306 (McCord Auditorium)
3225 University Blvd
Dallas, TX 75205 United States
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