Academic Study Confirms Tea Party Dominated By Far Right Xenophobic And Racist Theocrats

Polling data has made it clear that the Tea Party movement is just the latest manifestation of the portion of the Republican base dominated by far right-wing extremism. While officially stressing economic issues, they also tend to promote the agenda of the religious right. David E. Campbell, an associate professor of political science at Notre Dame, and Robert D. Putnam, a professor of public policy at Harvard, have studied  the Tea Party and have come to similar conclusions:

Beginning in 2006 we interviewed a representative sample of 3,000 Americans as part of our continuing research into national political attitudes, and we returned to interview many of the same people again this summer. As a result, we can look at what people told us, long before there was a Tea Party, to predict who would become a Tea Party supporter five years later. We can also account for multiple influences simultaneously — isolating the impact of one factor while holding others constant.

Our analysis casts doubt on the Tea Party’s “origin story.” Early on, Tea Partiers were often described as nonpartisan political neophytes. Actually, the Tea Party’s supporters today were highly partisan Republicans long before the Tea Party was born, and were more likely than others to have contacted government officials. In fact, past Republican affiliation is the single strongest predictor of Tea Party support today.

What’s more, contrary to some accounts, the Tea Party is not a creature of the Great Recession. Many Americans have suffered in the last four years, but they are no more likely than anyone else to support the Tea Party. And while the public image of the Tea Party focuses on a desire to shrink government, concern over big government is hardly the only or even the most important predictor of Tea Party support among voters.

So what do Tea Partiers have in common? They are overwhelmingly white, but even compared to other white Republicans, they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do.

More important, they were disproportionately social conservatives in 2006 — opposing abortion, for example — and still are today. Next to being a Republican, the strongest predictor of being a Tea Party supporter today was a desire, back in 2006, to see religion play a prominent role in politics. And Tea Partiers continue to hold these views: they seek “deeply religious” elected officials, approve of religious leaders’ engaging in politics and want religion brought into political debates. The Tea Party’s generals may say their overriding concern is a smaller government, but not their rank and file, who are more concerned about putting God in government.

This inclination among the Tea Party faithful to mix religion and politics explains their support for Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas. Their appeal to Tea Partiers lies less in what they say about the budget or taxes, and more in their overt use of religious language and imagery, including Mrs. Bachmann’s lengthy prayers at campaign stops and Mr. Perry’s prayer rally in Houston.

Yet it is precisely this infusion of religion into politics that most Americans increasingly oppose. While over the last five years Americans have become slightly more conservative economically, they have swung even further in opposition to mingling religion and politics. It thus makes sense that the Tea Party ranks alongside the Christian Right in unpopularity.

Their study confirmed what we knew all along. The Tea Party is dominated by far right xenophobic and racist social conservatives. Their goal is theocracy–the opposite of what the Founding Fathers desired.

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16 Comments

  1. 1
    Heather Hancock says:

    Academic Study Confirms Tea Party Dominated By Far Right Xenophobic And Racist Theocrats #p2 #p21 http://t.co/r7rhlhp

  2. 2
    L.A.L. says:

    Academic Study Confirms Tea Party Dominated By Far Right Xenophobic And Racist Theocrats #p2 #p21 http://t.co/r7rhlhp

  3. 3
    Tris Speaker says:

    Shocker: Tea Party dominated by xenophobes and racists. http://t.co/MmV1ZHw via @RonChusid

  4. 4
    Bama Left says:

    Academic Study Confirms Tea Party Dominated By Far Right Xenophobic And Racist Theocrats #p2 #p21 http://t.co/r7rhlhp

  5. 5
    J Walker says:

    Academic Study Confirms Tea Party Dominated By Far Right Xenophobic And Racist Theocrats #p2 #p21 http://t.co/r7rhlhp

  6. 6
    cobra commander says:

    “@RonChusid: Academic Study Confirms Tea Party Dominated By Far Right Xenophobic And Racist Theocrats #p2 #p21 http://t.co/jbaqVzZ” wow!

  7. 7
    Mark says:

    As a libertarian, I am aghast at what the Tea Party has become.  I was initially behind it, but it got hijacked by neocons who want to invade my personal space (as much as the left wants to–just in another arena).

    As an academic, the language of this study does not show that he considered the alternatives and did thorough analytical research.  His data points are too few to make it conclusive.

    As a theologically conservative Christian, I am appalled by both the Christian right and the left in that they have a very strange hermeneutic that is in line with the New World Puritans in that it reads the scriptures as though the USA (for the puritans, the colonies) is the same as Old Testament Israel.

  8. 8
    Melyssa says:

    Ditto to what Mark says!  I was a tea party activist (leader) in 2007 in Indiana leading the state wide charge to fight property tax. 

    One and half years later when the national movement sparked, I was kept at arms length by the republican establishment put in place to “lead” the tea party even though I had tremendous success in Indiana and the work I started led to statewide budget cuts and lower taxes for everyone.

    The new tea party movement is about putting guys like Rick Perry on a platform.   Rick Perry would be 10 times worse for America than Bush or Obama and every bit as disingenuous.  We will continue to lose rights to big government under Rick Perry, just as we spend even more on wars under Obama. 

    While there may be good people in the Tea  Party Express and other new tea party movements, they are sheep being led to the slaughter. 
     

  9. 9
    Mely says:

    By the way…in my experience I’ve seen no more or less racism with tea party activists than I have in any other group of group of people except one. 

    The group where I always encounter racism is our local black caucuses who often display foul behavior toward whites.  

    In Indiana, Representative Greg Porter publicly shouted and called a friend of mine white power elitist as we worked the polls one day.    (My friend was of cuban descent and worked a blue collar job as a cable installer).  

    I’ve seen this type of “reverse” racism displayed often within groups of black politicians. 

    Regardless, racism should have no place on earth. 

  10. 10
    Captain Clarion says:

    It’s time for sane people to push back. Study shows Tea Party dominated by racist xenophobes lusting for theocracy. http://t.co/65BVJem

  11. 11
    LAVISIONARIA1 says:

    It’s time for sane people to push back. Study shows Tea Party dominated by racist xenophobes lusting for theocracy. http://t.co/65BVJem

  12. 12
    Donna L. Hansen says:

    It’s time for sane people to push back. Study shows Tea Party dominated by racist xenophobes lusting for theocracy. http://t.co/65BVJem

  13. 13
    Martha Ramirez says:

    It’s time for sane people to push back. Study shows Tea Party dominated by racist xenophobes lusting for theocracy. http://t.co/65BVJem

  14. 14
    DivorcedFromJustice says:

    It’s time for sane people to push back. Study shows Tea Party dominated by racist xenophobes lusting for theocracy. http://t.co/65BVJem

  15. 15
    Eric Bell says:

    It’s time for sane people to push back. Study shows Tea Party dominated by racist xenophobes lusting for theocracy. http://t.co/65BVJem

  16. 16
    Bud Parsons says:

    It’s time for sane people to push back. Study shows Tea Party dominated by racist xenophobes lusting for theocracy. http://t.co/65BVJem

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