The Tea Party

Above: I took this picture while walking Abbey around a neighborhood in Kyle, Texas… just outside of Austin. Democracy is a myth when it comes to a third-party, primarily at the national level. We call voters who vote for said parties throw away voters, or single issue voters. They are usually emotional voters.

I am thinking about joining them; I figure since I am one who easily gives in to ad hoc movements, why not; in truth, I suspect we will see this movement surrender a great deal of momentum come national elections; I am not saying this is a fact, but one of their rock star voices has already given in to celebrity status. I am talking about Sarah Palin. Both political historians and political scientist like to study what is known as “party identification.” In essence, this refers to the voter’s sense of psychological attachment to a party, which is not the same thing as voting for the party in a given election. This concept alone tell us that though the Tea Party has rallied its followers, many of them will not show any kind of  absolute commitment to the Tea Party. Moreover, as noted by Ken Janda of Northwestern University, there tends to be three absolutes of late when it comes to the study of politics:

1. The number of Republicans and Democrats combined exceeds the number of Independents and Third party folk every year.

2. The number of Democrats consistently exceeds that of Republicans.

3. The number of Democrats has shrunk over time, to the benefit of both Republicans and Independents.

(Credit: CBS)

In essence, due to historical trends and party loyalty, I suspect this tea movement will not last. As I mentioned to my classes, when people show up to cast their vote, their loyalty over a period of time will shift away from an  issue and back to their party; I think the rise of the Tea Party works in favor of Democrats. Keep in mind, there will never be a third-party president. Hence, we are really talking about politics at the state and local level.


11 thoughts on “The Tea Party

  1. Eddie,

    I believe you are right. The only thing I disagree with is the fact that the Tea Party will help the Dems. I think that when push comes to shove and there is only two party candidates- the Tea Party supporters will shift to the right and support a Republican. I guess we will see in November. I love third party politics.

  2. As far as I can tell, a Tea Party candidate does not have a (T) next to their name. Rather than a Tea Party Party, the group wants to push whatever Republicans and Democrats they can find who are for smaller government.

    Once the primaries are over, the Tea Party will have to switch from a state/local strategy (as you noted, EC) and decide which (D) or (R) to vote for in the general. As much as the Tea Party grumbles at big-government Republicans, I would expect most of them to hold their nose and vote for whatever (R) is on the ballot in order to flip control of Congress.

    Suzan is right, me thinks. No use getting a few smaller-government folks elected and pass up a chance to give them some control in the committees. The only way to do that is push as many Repubs across the goal line in November.

  3. Two things: one, cats don’t have to be walked. Two, every tea party person I know says that Republicans are better than nothing if they can’t have their own candidates.

  4. It will be interesting to see what independents do when deciding between a liberal and a Tea Party candidate.

    Liberal (D) or Tea Party (R)?

    Liberal (R) or Tea Party (D)?

    It may depend on the state, really. Are they furious enough with health care, spending, and the economy to roll the dice on the anti-incumbent no matter the situation? Frankly, I cannot tell if the Tea Party brand will help or hurt. From what I read in the news the Dems would rather face a Tea Party-favored candidate than a simple straight-up GOP candidate.

  5. Interesting matter in Delaware last night. Dems seem pretty happy while Repubs are highly concerned; in the end, Tea folks and Red folks are too much a like. Tea Party people still must address the funding issue.

  6. To tell the truth, I see the tea party movement as a sad excuse for a reformation movement within the Republican Party. It’s not that their goals aren’t noble, I agree with most of the policies that they put forth over the past year and would like the Republican party to be a bit more conservative, but they have completely and consistently defeated their own purposes. Bringing in an endless swath of Fox News Pundits in conjunction with controversial figures like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich (both extremely intelligent but plagued by stupid tourettes) is laughable. I say forget the third party politics, and push for reform in the Republican party leadership. Bring fresh new people without political agendas (or troubled pasts) to the forefront of a legitimate reform movement.

  7. Just wanted to stop by and say hello, Edward.

    The pace of professional change in public education is glacial, i.e., really slow, but I’ll have some things to say very soon about policy changes in our district that will have big implications for enhanced student achievement.

    BTW, your running page is impressive. If I was a student of yours I’d never be tempted to displease The Professor. 🙂

  8. Patrick: Your view point has changed a great deal; I am with you. But I must add, the masses seem to get caught up a great deal in all of this.

    Hugh: Slow is right via education. Don’t come to Texas. As for students, they like the temptation.

  9. I wouldn’t necessarily say that my viewpoint has changed, just the way I look at two party politics. I used to love third parties because I thought it was a way for everyone to get heard. That is further than the truth though. I recognize now that I can only hope for the Republican party to push further to the right in order to find a party in line with my ideals. In essence, that is ultimately the goal of the Tea Party movement. However, this election cycle has led to a divergence of those two philosophies (viz. the Republican party that has become more progressive and the Tea Party who wants to be more conservative) and put them head to head in some States. The goal of a party is to defeat the other party. The introduction of a third party only draws votes away from a true contender and defeats the common “enemy” of them both: as seen with the Bull Moose Party and the Ross Perot campaign.

  10. Most (over 70%) of local elections are non-partisan. Even your old stomping grounds of Searcy will be having a first go at non-partisan elections this year. So you are right, the implications of this for local government races are significant. Since the Tea Party isn’t a party, but is organized (and more energetic than many local party organizations at the moment) it will play an important role in supporting candidates in these non-partisan races.

  11. Professor Klein: It is great to hear from you on this blog; Nothing in Searcy shocks me; I have been following the local situation in Searcy. Here is my question to you: Do you really think the Tea Party is that organized? I can see that being the case via ideology; however, not so much when it comes to fund raising.

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