Political Research Associates (PRA) is a left-wing “social justice think tank” which seeks to advance left-progressive and critical race theory-aligned thinking and action. PRA opposes the political right, attempts to discredit mainstream center-right views by tarring them as extremist and bigoted,  and works to enrich the left-progressive’s understanding of what the American right is doing. It receives funding from a number of major left-of-center foundations, including the Ford Foundation, Proteus Fund, New Venture Fund, and Tides Foundation.
PRA uses its publications to smear the center-right by falsely implying ideological connections and interrelated motivations between mainstream figures, white nationalists, and white supremacists. PRA has published writing contending that the base support for then-President Donald Trump “is filled with white nationalists, Christian nationalists, libertarian opportunists, and laissez-faire deregulators” and held that anti-critical race theory rhetoric has mobilized the “Christian right, white nationalists, and the wider MAGA coalition.” Other RPA publications have claimed the Republican Party has stoked racism and xenophobia for decades.
PRA’s quarterly journal, The Public Eye, is its most prominent work product, containing multiple long-form reports per issue authored by PRA staff and outside contributors. PRA also produces research reports and blog posts. Outside contributors and staff are regularly cited by left-wing media outlets.
Political Research Associates (PRA) was founded by Jean Hardisty as Midwest Research in Chicago in 1981 to respond to and oppose the rise of President Ronald Reagan. In 1987, Midwest Research moved to Boston and changed its name to Political Research Associates. Since 1992, it has published The Public Eye magazine to discredit center-right views as extremist and bigoted and share its research for use by advocates and journalists criticizing the U.S. right.
PRA uses its publications to smear the center-right by falsely implying ideological connections and interrelated motivations between mainstream figures, white nationalists, and white supremacists. PRA has labeled the Trump base the “MAGA coalition” and falsely claimed “it is filled with white nationalists, Christian nationalists, libertarian opportunists, and laissez-faire deregulators.” The organization has also said that rhetoric opposing critical race theory evokes the “fears of demographic change” and has mobilized the Christian right, white nationalists, and the wider MAGA coalition.
A quarterly journal—The Public Eye—is PRA’s defining work product. It began as a print journal in the late 1970s, moving under the PRA umbrella in 1992. The Public Eye is now available online as well as print, and reported 1,400 print subscribers as of 2004. Each issue contains several long-form reports representing the most in-depth work PRA produces. Journal content is provided by PRA staff and outside authors (who are often higher education instructors) with extensive footnoting provided for research work.
In addition to the journal, PRA’s website contains research reports and blog posts. PRA staff and outside authors are somewhat regularly cited by outside media, most frequently in other left-wing media outlets such as Salon, AlterNet, and ThinkProgress.
PRA has attacked the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) for its view on immigration issues, accused the libertarian Koch Network of undermining the “rights and liberties of non-white demographics,” and attempted to link activism opposing the teaching of critical race theory in schools to white supremacy. PRA has also accused the right-of-center Heritage Foundation, FreedomWorks, and the Manhattan institute of using influence to generate and spread talking points that are “rooted in white supremacy,” attacked Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk as a Christian nationalist and participated in a forum hosted by the left-of-center Solidaire Network on how to counter conservatives and how funders can contest the right in the long haul.
The Public Eye
Since 1992 PRA has published The Public Eye magazine to share its research for use by advocates and journalists to criticize the U.S. right. The quarterly magazine contains long-form reports authored by PRA staff and outside contributors who often correlate and link mainline conservatives, libertarians, and the Republican Party with far-right extremists and white nationalists.
Other PRA publications have smeared Republican voters in the former Democratic Party stronghold of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, as having white supremacy behind their conservative social values and new vote choices. The Public Eye has also labeled Trump supporters as breathing in “casual, normative racism like air, never thinking to question what is all around them” as the conservative movement and the Republican Party have allegedly stoked racism and xenophobia for decades.
PRA’s publications have also said the confirmation hearing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas triggered “misogynistic backlash to the infringement on male entitlement” on the right, as well as “virulent hostility towards women.”
Smears of the Center-Right
Political Research Associates is a critical race theory-influenced “social justice think tank” which attempts to discredit mainstream center-right views by tarring them as extremist and bigoted. 
Since its creation, Political Research Associates has issued a number of major publications attempting to tie mainstream Republicans and conservatives to extremists. They include:
- Trump, the Republican Party, and Westmoreland County, from the Summer 2018 edition of The Public Eye. The author returns to a blue-collar Pennsylvania coal-country county where she grew up t0 explain its shift from voting strongly for Democrats to strongly Republican over the course of her lifetime. She concludes that the “significant factors” in the transformation are “White supremacy” and the “conservative social values” that were taught to her as a child and are “being brandished by a dismayingly large number of people in the area.”
- Before the Alt Right: Anita Hill and the Growth of Misogynist Ideology, from the Summer 2018 edition of The Public Eye. The writer asserted that the 1991 U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearing testimony of law professor Anita Hill, in which Hill apparently falsely alleged she was sexually harassed by then-high court nominee Clarence Thomas, caused a “misogynist backlash to the infringement on male entitlement” and “virulent hostility toward women.” In the author’s historical progression, five murderers motivated by hostility toward women and the rise of several mainstream right-of-center individuals and publications, including those with a “prior reputation for more respectful engagement,” most notably the late public television show host and National Review founder William F. Buckley, came from the same supposed “misogynist backlash.”
- The Transformation of a Goldwater Girl: Why it Matters in the Time of Trump, from the Fall 2016 edition of The Public Eye. The essay traces the author’s journey to leftist ideology after being a teenage supporter of conservative Republican U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater’s 1964 campaign for the White House. Writing just before the election of President Donald Trump, she asserts the path she took away from conservatism can be replicated with many Trump supporters who “aren’t reflexively prone to racist violence or White supremacist fanaticism” but instead “just breathe in casual, normative racism like air, never thinking to question what is all around them.” Regarding the mainstream center-right, she writes that the conservative movement and the Republican Party have been deliberately stoking racism and xenophobia for decades.
Coverage of Extremists
A regular feature of PRA’s content is reports and analysis of misogynist, bigoted, and sometimes violent organizations and individuals. Representative examples include:
- The Incel Rebellion: Movement Misogyny Delivers Another Massacre, from the Spring 2018 edition of The Public Eye. This is an analysis of the connections between murders committed over several decades by men motivated by a hatred of women, the “incel” (involuntarily celibate) misogynist movement, and white supremacy.
- Disunite the Right: The Growing Divides in the Pepe Coalition, from the Fall 2017 edition of The Public Eye. The report covers disputes, divisions and rivalries taking place within the alt-right and racist white supremacist organizations during the summer of 2017.
- White Supremacy’s Old Gods: The Far Right and Neopaganism, from the Winter 2018 edition of The Public Eye. This is a description of the non-Christian religious motivations adhered to by some racist organizations and individuals.
In 2019, Political Research Associates received $1,647,524 of contributions and grants. This is a decrease from 2018, when the group received $1,744,289 of contributions and grants. In 2019 PRA spent $1,284,195 on its education and research programs targeting conservative and center-right issues and themes.
PRA receives significant funding from several philanthropic foundations with a history of giving to left-wing causes and advocacy organizations. PRA has received $1,650,000 in grants from the left-of-center Ford Foundation since 2006, including $650,000 of grants in 2021.
In 2018, PRA’s grants included $97,000 from the left-of-center New Venture Fund; $21,580 from President and Fellows of Harvard College; $15,000 from Proteus Fund; $15,000 from the Tides Foundation; $17,500 from the Chicago Community Trust (CCT); $15,000 from the San Francisco Foundation; $5885 from the Denver Foundation; and others.
In 2015, the organization received a $150,000 grant from the left-of-center Horizons Foundation to stop the exportation of U.S.-style culture wars. PRA has also received grants from the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment, and others.
Tarso Luis Ramos has been the executive director of Political Research Associates since 2006.  He was the founding director of the left-of-center Western States Center’s racial justice program. Also he was an activist-in-residence at the Barnard Center for Research on Women and a Rockwood Leadership Institute National Yearlong Fellow from 2017-2018.