Tag Archives: establishment Republicans

The Gravitational Force in the Republican Party

By Theda Skocpol

Pundits have shifted their assessments of Tea Party clout with each swing of the pendulum in the GOP primary season — starting with debates even before the voting in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and beyond.  Either the Tea Party is said to be flexing its muscles, beating the “GOP establishment.” Or it is declared to be falling apart and failing to register much impact.   The fortunes of Mitt Romney seem to determine which assessment is the favor of the day: if he does poorly, the Tea Party is strong; if he wins, the Tea Party is proving to be a paper tiger.

The trouble with all such assessments is twofold. First, they focus too much on the horse-race, attempting to label some candidates “Tea Partiers” and others “establishment” — while missing the big picture of the race to the right by all candidates in the GOP race.  And secondly, such assessments mistakenly hold the Tea Party to a standard it cannot meet.  Let me begin with the latter point, and come back to the former. Continue reading

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Crashing the (Republican) Party: The Tea Party and the Republican Primaries

By Chris Parker

Most people are familiar with the Tea Party by now, a movement that burst onto the political scene in the early days of the Obama presidency. There is little doubt that they’ve energized the Republican Party. Consider the 2010 midterm election cycle. A report issued by Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights indicates that 10 sitting Republican senators were backed by one of the six major Tea Party factions, as were 85 members of the House. Still, if the ongoing Republican primaries are in any way indicative, a rift has developed between the Republican “establishment” and Republican insurgents: “grassroots” conservatives associated with Tea Party. In both South Carolina and Florida, establishment types appear to favor Mitt Romney, while strong Tea Party types, by and large, favor Newt Gingrich. What is the source of the rift? If there is a division between the two wings of the Republican Party, how big is it? Continue reading

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Filed under Essay Dialogues, Tea Party and the Primaries