In 20 years, when a trick-or-treater in a Ted Nugent t-shirt knocks on your door wearing a sidearm and waving a scrawled, misspelled sign, you’ll know exactly who he’s supposed to be and you’ll smile. But you’ll probably also remember that for a brief time, it seemed as if this pseudo know-nothing movement would take over American politics and elect a Sarah Palin/Glenn Beck ticket to the White House.
Luckily the movement quickly became a parody of itself. By saying taxes were too high when they were actually at a 60-year low, by claiming to be just about the economy and then pushing a far-right, anti-gay, anti-women agenda, by defeating a Congress that reformed Medicare in order to elect a Congress that wanted to gut Medicare, the Tea Party quickly lost its bipartisan pose and became a national joke.
Though the Tea Party’s primary successes have been provoking the first credit downgrade in U.S. history and making sure Democrats kept the Senate, several dozen Tea Partiers are still in Congress. And the movement has proven its ability to win primary elections, particularly in safe Republican seats. Some form of the Tea Party as code for the far right will persist for decades, but Grover Norquist’s dream of a second coming that’s comparable to the first wave in 2009 is a complete fantasy.
Here are 5 reasons the Tea Party is basically over.
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