A federal appeals court’s recent decision to support a lower court that blocked the Oklahoma law might be considered as a big blow to the the Anti-Sharia movement, which has gained momentum in recent years. Yet, the anti-Sharia sentiment in the Republican primaries have resurrected fears about Muslims, and thus, fed Islamophobia.
Tag Archives: Republican primaries
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
First it was Bill Ayers, the radical 1960s activist and Weather Undergrounder “palling around” with Candidate Obama. Now it’s Saul Alinsky, the radical 1930s (through 1960s) community organizer whose teachings have influenced President Obama. While both men are unknown to the vast majority of the electorate, that hasn’t stopped GOP contenders from trying their damnedest to frame Obama as a radical. Leave it to none other than right-wing bomb-thrower (figuratively, in this case) David Horowitz to make the Alinsky-Obama connection book-length (pdf here). Conservative writer Mark Tapson agrees: “Newt Gingrich is hoping to expose the radical roots of Obama’s political nihilism.” Continue reading
By Richard Lloyd and Steven Tepper
In order to think about the influence of the Tea Party it is first important to understand the “essence” of the movement. What is the nature of its supporters’ discontent? How coherent are their political and policy goals? Is it something new on the political landscape that is forcing a realignment within the Republican Party?
Research conducted with Andy Perrin, Neal Caren, Steven Tepper and Sally Morris, concludes that the Tea Party phenomena – from the perspective of public support – is a case of “old wine” in a “new bottle.” Continue reading
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
By Tina Fetner
After making a strong push to in the 2010 Congressional midterm elections, the Tea Party was perceived by some to be unstoppable, by others to be falling apart at the seams. However, the political power held by this movement (or at least, their perceived power) made a major impact on the candidate selection process for the Republican presidential nomination. The primary battle currently underway, in which Republican grassroot supporters, party insiders and political pundits embrace and then discard candidate after candidate suggests that the Tea Party has, at least temporarily, loosened the Republican Party leadership’s grip on the political process. Continue reading
By Neal Caren
In order to understand the potential influence of the Tea Party Movement on the Republican Party, it is useful to locate its supporters within the Republican Party and the overall spectrum of American politics. One useful and underutilized tool for doing this is the data from a weekly poll conducted by Public Policy Polling for DailyKos/SEIU. They have been collecting data since the beginning of 2011, and place the raw data on the web when they report their results, which is usually every Wednesday. In addition to the normal questions found on campaign polls, the survey has asked whether the respondent was a member of the Tea Party (from January to October) or whether the respondent was a supporter of the Tea Party (from October to the present). From this polling data, we can make a couple of inferences on the type of impact that the Tea Party is likely to have on the Republican primaries this year. Continue reading
By Jenni White
September of 2009, I rode a veritable river through the streets of Washington, D.C. toward our nations’ capitol. I recall unmatched feelings of both awe and amazement as I watched Americans of every shape and size, color and age, stream from every side street, pouring into the ever-growing sea of bodies pressing toward the Capitol grounds. Nearly every citizen carried a hand-printed sign – cobbled together in their hotel room with anything they could find at Walgreens on Connecticut Avenue – that mirrored the frustration and purpose on their face in some inventively snarky and hilarious way. Continue reading
On GPS (Jan 22nd episode), Fareed Zakaria asked “what happened to the Tea Party?” suggesting that it may have disappeared. While posing the question to his guests, “The end of the Tea Party?” appeared at the bottom of the television screen. His guest, David Frum, said that the “Tea Party failed to provide an alternative to Romney,” while his other guest, Steven Rattner, proclaimed that “the Tea Party lost its mojo.” Has the Tea Party run out of steam?
To answer this question, it is important to ask, “Whose Tea Party is it?” Theda Skocpol and Vanessa Williamson’s recent book on the Tea Party highlights the dynamic relationship between local grassroots Tea Partiers and the movement’s elite actors and organizations. The relationship is symbiotic, as Skocpol and Williamson discuss in their chapter titled “Mobilized Grassroots and Roving Billionaires.” The mobilization of discontent at the grassroots served as an opportunity for existing ultra-conservative elite organizations to advance their cause. At the same time, local Tea Party groups benefited from the resources of these organizations and the media attention they received. Nonetheless, there are tensions between grassroots activists and national organizations particularly since some local Tea Partiers are suspicious of larger national elite groups and worry about losing local autonomy. Continue reading
Reflecting upon the events of 2011, I am reminded of a thought exercise Bill Gamson presented to the participants of the Young Scholars in Social Movements conference in April 2011. There was one question that especially stood out (and this is from my handwritten notes so I apologize if I don’t have this exactly right): “There has been a dramatic increase in economic inequality in the US since the 1970s. Yet there is no popular surge of moral indignation at the unfairness of it all and no social movement to demand to stop and reverse the trend. People may be aware of this fact and angry about it, but their attention and anger doesn’t seem to get channeled into organized collective action.” Keep in mind that the conference took place before anyone heard of the Occupy movement; when to most, the word “occupy” still simply meant “to fill up space.”
It took three decades but inequality itself (as opposed to poverty, welfare and economic hardship) has become a salient political issue, thanks in large part to the Occupy movement (see The Economist, Oct. 26th). Continue reading