By Erica Seifert

Why The Tea Party’s Power Keeps Growing

October 3, 2013 12:39 pm Category: 463 Comments A+ / A-
Why The Tea Party’s Power Keeps Growing

Tea Party rally

Today, Democracy Corps is releasing findings from focus groups with evangelical, Tea Party, and moderate Republicans. Our conversations with these Republicans help explain why the GOP is committed to shutdown politics — and why in the future, its leaders likely will move more deeply into intransigent far-right conservatism.

While moderate Republicans want their leaders to seek what they call “middle ground,” they form only one quarter of today’s Republican voters. The most conservative factions in the party — evangelicals and Tea Party adherents — now comprise more than half of Republican partisans. These folks do not worry that Republican leaders’ intransigence has led to this kind of shutdown politics in Washington. Instead, they worry that current Republican leaders are too compromising:

The problem is there’s not a party that thinks like us. We don’t have a voice in Washington. Or where else? The Republican Party? They might as well just have a D beside their name, as far as I’m concerned.  (Evangelical man, Roanoke)

I don’t have a party anymore. (Evangelical man, Roanoke)

And the Republicans – a lot of Republicans are just RINOs – Republican in name only. But we’ve really got to turn this ship around, or we’re in deep doo. (Evangelical man, Roanoke)

Above all, they think that the Republican Party has proved too willing to “cave” to the Obama administration’s agenda:

They cave all the time. (Evangelical woman, Colorado Springs)

They’re rollovers. (Evangelical man, Roanoke)

They turn to the Tea Party because it gives them hope that someone is finally “standing up” and “fighting back” against the forces of Obama and big government.

Well, I would say, the rise of the Tea Party, that people are getting involved, and they’re standing up… Grass roots. I’ve never been really into politics. And I’m getting more involved. And people I think are standing up. Like you were talking gun control. People are saying hey, this isn’t what’s in our Constitution, and it’s not what’s in our schools. And I think people are taking a stand now, and we need to, before it’s too late. (Evangelical woman, Colorado Springs)

America is rising back up and getting a backbone again, and making our voices heard one way or another, whether it’s Tea Party, or whatever else. People are being emboldened.  (Evangelical woman, Colorado Springs)

They are a group to be reckoned with, because if we’re going to turn things around, The Tea Party’s going to need to be part of it. And less government and less spending, and throw the rascals out – to quote Ross Perot – is what they’re all about. I’m there.  (Evangelical man, Roanoke)

I would say that our greatest strength is…we do have a lot of rednecks in our country, and we have a lot of people who are stepping out and saying things now.  (Evangelical woman, Colorado Springs)

As a result, they believe that the Tea Party should form the new core of the Republican Party.

I think [the Tea Party] is good [for the Republican Party.] I think that the rest of the GOP needs to get on board. We need to all agree on some of the basic stuff. (Tea Party man, Raleigh)

I think it’s a good thing, because [the Tea Party represents] core Conservatives…So you’ve got the Republicans against the Conservatives, and they said, “You need to be more Conservative if you’re going to win the elections and get more people.” (Tea Party man, Raleigh)

These voters — a majority of Republican partisans — do not want their leaders in Washington to work for compromise. Instead, they support the kind of strong-arm government-by-threat-and-fiat that finds us now in a government shutdown — and possibly also heading for a default on the country’s debt. In the future, this majority looks to move the GOP farther to the right. It will do so at the expense of moderate and center-right voters, but in the interim, we should not look for more moderate Republican leaders to step forward to broker pragmatic solutions.

Read the full Democracy Corps report here.

Photo by ArtByHeather/Flickr

Why The Tea Party’s Power Keeps Growing Reviewed by on . Today, Democracy Corps is releasing findings from focus groups with evangelical, Tea Party, and moderate Republicans. Our conversations with these Republicans h Today, Democracy Corps is releasing findings from focus groups with evangelical, Tea Party, and moderate Republicans. Our conversations with these Republicans h Rating:

More by Erica Seifert

2013 State of the Union

This Is What The President Needs To Say In His State Of The Union Address

In his State of the Union address next week, we expect that President Obama will discuss the Affordable Care Act, NSA reform, immigration reform, and climate change. More important, we anticipate that he will renew his commitment to mitigating economic inequality — a theme he began emphasizing last month. We have discussed here and elsewhere

Read more...

Capitol Dome2

Republicans, Take Some Free Advice: Raise the Minimum Wage

We do not expect House Republicans to take up an increase in the minimum wage during this Congress. But if they did, they would find themselves on the right side of history and public opinion. A survey of American adults released last week by Quinnipiac University found that 71 percent — including majorities of Democrats,

Read more...

Boehner RS

Boehner’s Stance On Unemployment Insurance Must Be A Joke

Earlier this week, the Senate passed a bill to extend long-term unemployment insurance, a measure that would restore assistance to the estimated 1.3 million workers whose benefits expired at the end of December. And while just six Republican senators joined the majority, the bill was pronounced “bipartisan.” Apparently this is what passes for Republican participation these

Read more...

Tags

Comments

  • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

    Man, I knew those Ohio State – Michigan games could be rough, but a MaxxPro for crowd control? Geez. You’d think it was for a Red Sox – Yankees game at Fenway!

  • Buford2k11

    this is just what we can see…Ya wonder what is going on behind those closed doors…I wonder why they are perverting the Constitution again? No “standing armies” within the borders seems to be slipping down that slippery slope of 9/11

  • JDavidS

    Another new and creative way the Pentagon has come up with to spend tax dollars. I feel so much better now…I mean, what if they’d have pissed away this money on health care or education? Thank God they have their priorities straight.

    • Sand_Cat

      A good part of the reason for these wonderful new things is the fact that this country hasn’t “pissed away” much money and effort on such silly things as education for some time, despite all the “conservative” whining about “throwing money at the problem.”

  • sigrid28

    Providing jobs for veterans who know how to drive and service military vehicles is the only conceivable advantage I can see in bringing a MaxxPro onto a college campus–in the United States: You might need one in Pakistan. Otherwise, seeing a MaxxPro rumbling about on the OSU campus should discourage students and their families, taking on debt for a lifetime–even vets attending on the GI Bill–from enrolling there in the first place.

    For Bastrop (as well as Boston), the best hope is the president’s 64 judicial appointments who will finally be able to take up their seats on the bench now that Harry Reid has prevented the Republicans from stonewalling the approval process in the Senate. Never were they needed more than they are now. Until the public catches up with Jim Hightower, it will be up to the courts to protect the victims of over-reach by a senselessly militarized police force.

  • Sand_Cat

    From some of the things I’ve heard about Ohio State-Michigan games, maybe they need a military presence.
    Seriously, though, this is both a symptom, and likely to be a reinforcer of, the “us vs them” mentality of our police towards all outsiders, not just people for whom they have good evidence, or even a reasonable hunch, of possible criminal activity. Remember the outrage about “civilian review boards” a few years ago? If I recall properly, they pretty much gelded or eliminated them in NYC at least. Couldn’t have ordinary citizens – or any outsider, actually – to which police must answer.
    Yet some here still ridicule the idea that we are at least halfway to a police state already.

    • daniel bostdorf

      Nice angle to think about. Important to clearly understand what a police state is. A Police State is a political unit/structure characterized by repressive governmental control of political, economic, and social life usually by an arbitrary exercise of power by police.Especially secret police in place of regular operation of administrative and judicial organs of the government according to publicly known legal procedures.

      A police state leads to a “surveillance state” mindset where all abuses of civil liberties really occur.

      The definition of “sureveillance state” has a complex set of connected perameters that are best described here:

      https://www.privacyinternational.org/blog/defining-the-surveillance-state

      When we militarize local and state police forces without any oversight, we slide into a national surveillance state.

      If we have one party ruling at all levels, House, Senate, Supreme Court and a dicatorial president that condones aboslute national authority of citizens by any means necessary. We slide into fascism.

      Fascism:: a way of organizing a society in which a government ruled by a dictator controls the lives of the people and in which people are not allowed to disagree with the government: very harsh control or authority.

      • Bryan Blake

        The first and primary definition of Fascism is the melding of corporate interest with the government. The Fascism you describe is a convenient misdirection into the perverted politics of Mussolini and his jack-booted military. The true definition of fascism has been manifesting in our government for the past three decades. Citizens United cemented the beachhead in place and now the rich, ultra-rich and their corporations are moving full speed to own the government and have it do their bidding. If We The People do not stop them soon then we will truly be The United Corporations of America!

        • daniel bostdorf

          You are correct to add the specific of “melding of corporate interest with the government.”

          And I really like “The true definition of fascism has been manifesting in our government for the past three decades.”

          Great reply!

  • bob shipp

    Ridiculous! Read the account of a high school lock down in the Richmond (va) Times Dispatch today. It’s only a matter of time until a police response goes terribly wrong when this military response mentality runs rampant.

  • Bryan Blake

    Without meaning any disrespect toward those who died on 9/11, I can only say Asama Bin Laden succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. The reaction of this country post 9/11 has been dismal. Like little cowering sheep we first allowed the passage of the Patriot Act. Then the horrendous Department of Homeland Security was created. Covert spying began on citizens and non citizens alike all in the name of our national paranoia. Instead of leading our nation through a difficult time G W Bush saw it as his personal opportunity for self-aggrandizement leading to the Iraq War and unnamed secret programs to diminish our constitutional liberties and freedoms. We may be currently outraged by the NSA but what of other secret programs we are not privy to. We have an unaccountable parallel court system known as FISA. It is administered by the Chief Justice of SCOTUS. But no one outside of select federal officials really knows what is going on inside of FISA. It is unaccountable to We The People. I wish I could say that President Obama has not continued with many of the worst of the programs created under former President Bush, but he has.

    Yes as Mr. Hightower illustrates Homeland Security is handing out these goodies at an accelerating pace. But the scariest thing is something that happened in the defense authorization act of 2010(?). The House inserted a provision in that act that gives POTUS the authority to deploy our military in domestic policing actions. Couple this with the ubiquitous militarization of local police forces and our Constitution could soon be worth nothing more than toilet paper!

    • daniel bostdorf

      I agree with this:

      ” I can only say Asama Bin Laden succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

      Know why?

      He made the USA fearful. We suspended the Bill of Rights with patriot act…and for past 13 years we have lived under a ‘surveillance state” NSA dream..

      it has also set up the loss of House to GOP….the Supreme Court to Koch brothers and we may lose Senate…

      • mandinka

        If we hadn’t disrespected their religion, then it wouldn’t have happened

  • howa4x

    Republicans are trapped by ideology, and can’t discern reality. everything they do is to appeal to a vocal minority of voters

    • Kurt CPI

      That goes equally for Democrats on many issues, although their vocal minority is larger (at least at this point in history).

      • CrankyToo

        I wonder if you might be able to provide an example or two of those “many issues” on which Democrats are equally trapped by ideology and unable to discern reality.

        • Kurt CPI

          Sure. How ’bout reducing/eliminating 2nd amendment rights and requiring religious objectors to pay for abortions?

          • CrankyToo

            None of the 24 initiatives proposed by President Obama in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre would have precipitated any reduction or elimination of 2nd Amendment rights. They were common-sense proposals aimed at reducing gun violence by keeping weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of criminals and nutjobs. Moreover, 78% of Americans (as I recall) agreed with those proposals. Clearly, you’re among the 22% who think anyone in the country should have access to anything he or she desires in the way of weapons and ammunition.

            And insofar as “requiring religious objectors to pay for abortions” is concerned, I have no earthly idea what you’re on about (and I’m reasonably certain that you have no idea yourself). Federal law prohibits the use of taxpayer money to fund abortions. Ergo, abortions are privately funded by those who require and can afford the procedure, and by humanitarian organizations like Planned Parenthood for those who cannot afford it. And while it’s true that Planned Parenthood receives some of its money through Government subsidy, none of that money goes to the funding of abortions because (as indicated above) that would be illegal. Those subsidies go toward the funding of other family planning services like health screening, mammograms, the provision of contraceptives, and so forth (which, incidentally, account for 97% of what Planned Parenthood does). I’ll wager you don’t know one single “religious objector” who’s ever been required to pay for an abortion.

            Here’s some free advice for you, Squire: (1) Grab both ears and yank as hard as you can. (2) Once you’ve extricated your head from your ass, grab your remote control and switch off Fox Noise. (3) Never cast another vote for any Repugnican anywhere on your ballot until the Greedy Old Pricks start standing up candidates who give a shit about the 99 percent of us who actually work and play in the real world. Of course, if you’re a racist, a homophobe, a xenophobe, a country club conservative, a Sunday school conservative, a redneck, or any other brand of Tea Party dumbass, then forget everything after “hello” because you’re already a lost cause.

          • Kurt CPI

            Obviously you don’t read my regular postings here. But I must thank you for making my point in so much more indelible fashion than I could ever have dreamed! Here’s some free advice for you, Squire: (1) If you don’t want to get caught, don’t take the bait.

          • CrankyToo

            So you’re not a moron? Just pretending to be one? Wow! You got me! Aren’t you the clever lad?

          • ThomasBonsell

            Perhaps you should read Article I, Section 8, paragraph 16 of the United States Constitution about Congress’ power of “arming” the Militia. That’s the Militia the Second Amendment refers to.

            Regulations about determining who can be armed for Militia duty is NOT reducing/eliminating your Second Amendment rights. It is a clear statement of Congressional power.

            No one is forcing someone to pay for abortion against their religious dictates. The issue is commerce, and the Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate commerce. We all have to pay through insurance for the treatment of cancer patients even though we do not have cancer. We all pay through insurance for diabetes treatment even when we don’t have diabetes. We all paid for Dick Cheney’s heart transplant even though we didn’t need a transplant ourselves.

            I also am getting tired of hearing about how your religious beliefs should excuse you from the laws that everyone else must obey. Christ told you the exact opposite. Plus, he and the Bible never outlaw abortion; that is totally a modern-day man’s rule that is put into the doctrine even though the Bible says you cannot add to or subtract from the doctrine.

          • CrankyToo

            Excellent points well stated.

  • disqus_il6KG9d3VM

    Mr Boehner, “Are you kidding me?”

  • CPAinNewYork

    Let’s get the money back by imposing full income tax on all funds held in offshore banks.

    • dpaano

      My suggestion is that we ask them to repay the $24B they lost during their ridiculous shutdown. How’s that sound?

      • CPAinNewYork

        Sounds good.

      • John Smith

        To be fair, it was both the democrats and republicans fault. There are some who do not want to compromise – their way or the highway.

    • rkief

      And on the rest (about 82%) of the Bush Tax Cuts that were not rescinded.

  • Arleen Palmer

    He is such an A hole. These rich people have no conception of how the other half live. It is do pitiful.

    • CPAinNewYork

      They are elitist Pr$cks.

  • Kurt CPI

    While I’m in agreement that UI extension was necessary, I also have to say that Erica Seifert understands the situation about as well as the politicians who make the decisions. Just like any statistics, the effects of chopping or maintaining UI can be (and are) manipulated to show only the pros or only the cons according to the crowd they’re being presented to. The real truth is that somebody has to pay for the benefits. Those 310,000 jobs at taxpayer expense are funded by the taxpayer – or actually the taxpayer’s great-great grandchildren. There’s no such thing as something from nothing. However, it is a lesser evil to pay someone for doing something than to pay them for doing nothing. So if those 310,000 jobs are not just the conjured voodoo statistics of economic ideologues, it at lease has that benefit.

    • ThomasBonsell

      Those 310,000 jobs do come from putting money into economy, and those 310,000 job holders become taxpayers and their spending create other jobs, which also creates more taxpayers.

      We always hear about how the rescue of General Motors cost the nation a few billion dollars. What you don’t hear from these people is that the hundreds of thousands of jobs saved also saved the ability of workers to pay taxes, and over time, those taxes paid will be greater than the money supposedly “lost” in the rescue. In the long term, that is a plus not a minus.

      • Independent1

        Absolutely! I read an article recently which I haven’t been able to relocate which was written by an accountant who had analyzed the auto bailout from a number of perspectives and conservatively estimated that the American taxpayers had already realized between 800 and 1000% return on the investment of about 10 billion dollars.

        And he wasn’t factoring in taxes that auto industry related companies and employees will be paying into the future which would have been lost and which are based now on profits that the auto industry hasn’t seen since the 1990s. And I don’t believe he even factored in what it would have cost America in the way of lost tax revenues and additional unemployment payments, had the estimated 1.4 million auto industry related workers lost their jobs; which may have resulted in America actually falling into a depression.

  • OKsettledown

    Erica Seifert, you’ve gotta be kidding me… I am no fan of John Boehner and have scoffed at the preponderance of his remarks, but this one is sound. Stating that unemployment benefits should be paid because they are good for the economy is, simply put, builleschitte. Unemployment benefits should be paid because there are not enough jobs to go around and we have to help those who cannot find one. Then, we have to find a way to create jobs, good jobs. We have to find a way to force employers to pay living wages, not depend on the government to make up the difference with food stamps and housing subsidies. Erica Seifert seems to be as trapped by her own ideology as the Republicans are by theirs.

    • dpaano

      People also seem to forget that some of these unemployment funds that we pay out to the unemployed are used to pay for gas to get to interviews, money to print resumes, money to pay for clothes to wear to interviews, and many other job-hunting related costs. It’s not ALL just used for food and rent….there are costs incurred in looking for employment. Trust me, I’ve been there many times!

    • rkief

      You make sense, OK, but where are the jobs going to come from? We have more people, mostly because of immigration, and fewer jobs, mostly because of automation, offshoring (and immigration,) so how can we make jobs out of thin air?

      Thus, I fear, that until this situation is somehow alleviated, there will be be people starving and/or rioting,and that is intolerable. Even if it takes some Draconian measures, like public works projects – sans automation, necessitating manual labor – to put people to work, it has to be done.

      Taxes (mine included) have to be raised, despite Republican assertions that the country can be run on buffalo chips, and the rich and the corporations will, for a change, have to pay their fair share.

      • OKsettledown

        You are exactly right. I agree that public works projects are the quickest way to begin alleviating unemployment and the problems it causes. Obama tried it with the stimulus packages, but the bureaucrats responsible for making it work did not get their act together – sort of like the roll-out of the ACA. It seems like every good idea gets blown out of the water because of the political need to create failure at every turn.

        • Independent1

          I’m not sure why you and others here are somewhat denigrating Obama’s stimulus program. Most economist credit the Stimulus as being the main reason why America didn’t fall into another GOP created depression. The only problem most economists have seen is that the Stimulus should have been closer to 2 trillion than 1, What else do you folks think was responsible for sharply reducing the 800,000 jobs losses per month that were happening when Obama took office with 4 months? And was also responsible for actually bringing the country back to positive job growth by the time Scott Brown took office in January of 2010 (less than a year later)?

          Had companies like Romney’s Bain capital not been as unAmerican as they were during the Great Recession which they used to pirate hundreds of companies at cheap prices while destroying millions of American jobs and shipping them overseas, America would have seen net job growth rebound even faster.

          The Stimulus went everywhere and kept millions of Americans from losing their jobs, from school teachers, to firemen, to EMTs to you name it. It was not only construction – that was only about 1/4 of the stimulus allocations. And even with the 29 billion of the stimulus ended up being allocated to creating alternative green energy companies; over 90% of that 29 billion resulted in creating green energy companies that are thriving today. Solyndra was not even a failure in that, it was American companies that had been pirated and shipped to China with America solar panel technologies which ended up being too much competition price wise for Solyndra.

          Do you realize that they’ve gotten the cost of creating electricity from Wind down to where it’s as cheap as coal? And that a company in New Jersey is working to find a cheaper way to produce plasma (the stuff the sun is comprised of); because if they can just produce it cheaper, they’ll be able to put the ‘sun in a box’ and oil, coal and even nuclear for creating electricity will be obsolete. The basic component of Plasma is hydrogen – the most abundent element in the universe.

          America has come a long way over the past 5 years, far further than most Americans realize. It’s feasible that America may overtake Russia within the next year or two as the largest producer of energy products on the planet. And a lot of why that’s happening is because of research projects that were started and funded by the stimulus; and Obama’s constant focus on creating alternative energy sources.

          • OKsettledown

            You are absolutely right on every point. My reference was to those who continue to bring up the non-shovel jobs and the failures. In this country, people won’t bother to read the positive facts. They want to concentrate on the failures.

          • Independent1

            I can certainly agree with that; sorry if I misunderstood. Obama has accomplished much more than the vast majority of America is willing to give him credit for. What he’s actually done is quite impressive. Here’s a list that takes quite a while to go thru:

            http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/11/23/1257892/-Obama-accomplishments

  • JDavidS

    Now when did the RepubliCONs ever find it necessary to make sense?

  • rkief

    What kind of representative body is The House of Representatives when those representatives are not allowed to vote on this, and on other important issues?

  • Chrysippus

    Boehner isn’t joking; he’s the joke. That stupid sucker couldn’t hold down a real job, so he hangs on by sucking up to the rich and famous.

  • daniel bostdorf

    The answer is not a liveable wage. It is a guaranteed income. Easily obtainable by transferring that out of existing trillion dollar social programs, closing tax loopholes for Koch brother billionaires, cutting defense appropriations from the GOP/TEaparty military industrial complex agenda, and a host of others.

    Guaranteed income means the poor are not poor. They pay taxes. have housing and the middle class is resurgent again.

    $15/hour is $420 a week 28 hours part time. $21840 yearly . Still poverty level.
    $15/hour full time is $600 a week/ $31200 yearly. Still near or at poverty if you consider family size.

    Federal poverty guidelines here:
    http://www.familiesusa.org/resources/tools-for-advocates/guides/federal-poverty-guidelines.html

    In fact, I believe the “minimum wage or livable wage” should be replaced with a guaranteed yearly income based upon Federal poverty statistics by state.

    This idea is not new. Back in 1967 Dr. Martin Luther King and highly respected economists proposed this a s a way to eliminate poverty once and for all.

    Outlined here:
    http://www.progress.org/tpr/martin-luther-king-on-guaranteed-income-social-dividend/

    “Rev. Dr. King viewed the guaranteed income as the way to abolish poverty. It does have that effect, but when prRev. Dr. King viewed the guaranteed income as the way to abolish poverty. It does have that effect, but when properly funded (not touching earned income) and properly distributed (to all people), it becomes more than that — it can be a fundamental instrument of economic justice.operly funded (not touching earned income) and properly distributed (to all people), it becomes more than that — it can be a fundamental instrument of economic justice.”

    A guaranteed annual out of poverty level annual income would eliminate all antiquated social programs and nearly all entitlements. It would make this country the leader in eliminating poverty once and for all. In addition, We need livable affordable housing, and a justice system free from big money.

    “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” ……Nelson Mandela

    addenda: The article link contains a dollar figure in 1967 as needing 20 billion to do this. In 1967 1 million dollars is now $6,978,113.77.
    7 times factoring inflation:
http://inflationdata.com/Infla…
    A 1000 million is a billion.

    Therefore—we would need only 140 billion. Easily obtainable by transferring that out of existing trillion dollar social programs as I stated in the beginning…

  • danmurphy2011

    We should extend unemployment benefits, period. As a conservative I have no objection, But, the President should forget this inequality crap and encourage everyone to make a renewed effort to put people to work making things. Life is hard.

scroll to top