And the Tea Party is…

another name for the Republican base.  Here’s a table of Tea Party sympathizers compared to “Republicans” compared to all voters (via Chait):

Heck, you practically don’t even need separate columns for Republicans and Tea party supporters.  This is a pretty neat trick that Republicans have pulled off– convincing most people that their angry base is some grass-roots based new social movement.   Chait’s comments strike me as spot-on:

The Tea Party is essentially a re-branding campaign for the GOP base. It’s a successful effort, and one that springs largely though not entirely from the grassroots itself. Conservatives like to imagine that the Tea Party is some incarnation of the popular will, asleep for many years and finally awakened under Obama, and bristle at any analysis that diminishes the world-historical import of the phenomenon. So let me be clear. The Tea Party represents a significant minority of Americans. It’s influential. (It allowed conservatives to disown the failures of the Bush administration and to lend them a populist imprimatur.) But it’s not anything more than an organizing rubric for the GOP base.

 

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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