Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Tea Party is Moving the Center of American Poltics Rightward

For my Canadian readers, this story may seem like "inside baseball" but my American friends will know exactly what I am talking about. Where the center of America politics is is very important to Canadians because it has a great deal to do with how our political spectrum is constructed.

For months now the Democratic Party and its allies in the mainstream media have done their best to mock, berate and run down the Tea Party movement. First they said it was "astroturf": i.e. just actors hired by the GOP to protest. But the polls soon showed that it was too widespread to be explained that way. Then they said it would burn itself out and splinter into quarreling factions. Then, when that failed to happen, they said it would split the Republican Party and to this day they cling bitterly to that hope. As election day draws near and the polls make Democrats increasingly worried, they continue to slander the Tea Party as racist - although one senses that this talking point is wearing thin. After all, do you risk alienating up to two thirds of Independents in order to rally your base? At what point does that become a losing strategy?

This article, by Mary Kate Cary in US News and World Report entitled: "The Tea Part Movement is More Mainstream Than Obama" is very interesting. She writes:
The political center has shifted. Polls show that independents have moved right and are staying there. A recent one, conducted by Democratic pollster Doug Schoen in late August for the conservative Independent Women's Voice, calls it a "fundamental realignment" as independents now lean to the right by 2 to 1. The survey asked independents what they would like candidates to do. The list of answers is clear: "Decrease the size and scope of government, cut spending and taxes, balance the budget, reduce the federal debt, reduce the power of special interests and unions, repeal and replace the healthcare legislation, and decrease partisanship." Most Tea Partyers would agree with just about everything on that list. So would most Republicans. And they'd all agree with independents who said that they're not getting those things from Washington.
So if the majority of Independent are added to the core Republican vote, you clearly have a majority of Americans. Which party is most receptive to this new, emerging majority?

Notice what's not on that list: climate change, financial regulation, bank bailouts, auto bailouts, troop surges, lawsuits on immigration reform, and repealing "don't ask, don't tell." (The only reason healthcare reform made the list is because independents want it scaled back.) Notice too that these are precisely what we have been getting from Washington.

It's no accident that the issues important to independents are strikingly similar to the ones important to Tea Partyers. Despite what the White House says, the Tea Party agenda is more mainstream than the Obama agenda. That's why, by a 52-to-40 margin, a majority of likely voters say their views are closer to Sarah Palin's than to President Obama's, according to Rasmussen Reports. [bolding is mine]

Now this is very interesting. The list of policies the Democrats care most about are non-issues or opposed by the Tea Party movement. And the issues the Tea Party movement cares about are non-issues or opposed by the Democratic Party. We may be witnessing the first act in a decade long realignment of American politics. It could represent the consolidation of the Reagan Revolution, which after all was more like the prelude to the revolution than the revolution itself.

The biggest issue facing the Republicans is whether they can adjust to the Tea Party agenda in time to become the vehicle for the emerging right-of-center American political consensus. That remains to be seen. The Rasmussen Poll showing that likely voters are closer to those of Sarah Palin than Barack Obama by a 52-40 margin means that the Republican Party must nominate a candidate for president in 2012 who either is Sarah Palin or is endorsed enthusiastically by Sarah Palin. If the GOP fails to do this, it risks the formation of a Third Party and/or an unnecessary loss to the Democrats.

True, if the GOP does this, it risks having "moderate" or "liberal" elements split off from the Republican Party. Would they join the Democrats or form a Third Party? My suspicion is that such elements (i.e. the Castles, Murkowskis, Christs, Spectors, etc.) simply do not represent any significant percentage of the Republican vote and therefore could not get a third party off the ground. They would disperse and their loss might just gain the GOP more votes than it loses for it. The GOP would be wise to say to big-government, tax and spend, liberal Republicans "Don't let the door hit you on the way out" and hop on the Tea Party Express.

1 comment:

joetote said...

The Tea Party movement is many things to many people. To those in power, it is a threat. To those who believe in the hard core Marxist principles being espoused by this administration, it is a threat! For those who believe our country needs to subvert itself to the whims of Islamic Fanatics, or Euro Socialism or whatever else, it is a threat!

As such, there are way too many people who do not remotely understand what is happening here. Our fighting men and women, our forefathers who gave their blood and lives for this country, they understand! Unfortunately, the folks that have either had everything handed to them or instead have chosen to ride on the back of others instead of being responsible for themselves combined with the elected morons who realize keeping people reliant on government insures their power, they do not understand!

The Tea Party movement is not a fight for the heart and soul of the Republican party! A co-opted media led by a hard core left wing wanna be dictatorship government would want you to believe that it is in fact all about the Republicans. And they would be dead wrong! The Tea Party movement is a fight for the heart and soul of our country! It is a fight to return us to what made us the greatest country in the world! How sad that entrenched politicians on the right along with the garbage on the left cannot or refuse to understand such a basic tenet!