August 10, 2022

Wither the Tea Party? The future of a political movement

In the midst of the Congressional primaries taking place across America this summer, the history of the Tea Party continues to be written. Tea Party membership and funding have continued to increase over the past year, but the media have proclaimed the Tea Party dead no less than 18 times. In this article, Christopher S. Parker asks if the Tea Party is an “astroturf” or a “grassroots” political movement. Parker pleads in favor of the latter, showing that the Tea Party has a real power of resistance in the current political climate.

Parker uses the Tea Party motivations to gauge how they will evolve over the next terms of office and the 2016 general election. He argues that some Tea Party conservatives are neither ignorant nor ideological, but rather fearful: worried that traditional American values ​​will be replaced by more socially liberal ideals. To test whether Tea Party conservatives are acting ideologically or fearfully, he poses a series of investigative questions to both establishment conservatives and Tea Party conservatives and finds the following:

  • Six percent of establishment conservatives believe Obama is an existential threat, compared to 71 percent of Tea Party conservatives.
  • 38% of establishment conservatives advocate Obama’s failure, compared to 78% of Tea Party conservatives.
  • 59% of establishment conservatives reject healthcare reform, compared to 93% of Tea Party conservatives.

Parker explains that since the origin of the Tea Party corresponds to the election of President Barack Obama, it is likely that Tea Party conservatives will react out of fear of the perceived “shift towards America” ​​by the election of President Obama. He also says that as the 2016 presidential election approaches, with candidate Hillary Clinton in the lead, typical anti-feminists in the Tea Party group are likely to have a negative, albeit low-key, reaction to his candidacy and decision. presidency. Parker writes that the only thing that will truly anchor Tea Party conservatives might be the election of a white Democratic candidate in 2016.