It’s the Tea Party’s country

So, I was going through my draft posts and discovered I had written this one a couple weeks ago and never actually posted it.  Whoops!  Anyway, as long as I’ve waited, I’ll add that it makes even more sense in light of last week’s post about why the Tea party has such disproportionate influence…


Increasingly (and sadly) when it comes to policy in this country, in many ways there’s the Tea Party Republicans calling the shots in the US House and Republican primaries and then pretty much everyone else.  These Gallup results are fascinating.  First off, Americans actually view this as a very important issue (Gallup does not poll the intensity on immigration nearly enough):

How important is it to you personally to have new laws dealing with immigration, including laws governing how immigrants can come into this country, and laws dealing with immigrants already in this country? Is it extremely important, very important, somewhat important, not too important or not important at all? June-July 2013

Not bad.  Over 70%of Americans consider it important to reform our immigration laws. But here’s the real kicker:

Support for Allowing Illegal Immigrants to Have Opportunity Become U.S. Citizens, by Ideology, June-July 2013

An overwhelming majority (83%) of conservatives favor a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.  Read that again.  But, presumably these are the the Tea Party nutjobs that comprise so many members of the House Republican caucus and that the semi-sane Republican House members are afraid will take them down in a primary challenge if they don’t toe the line on immigration.

This is truly nuts.  Much needed and quite sensible policy reform is essentially being held hostage to a small, but very vocal, group of xenophobes that has massively disproportionate influence in the Republican Party.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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