According to Wikipedia the Tea Party movement is not even a party, it’s …
Several polls have been conducted on the demographics of the movement. Though the various polls sometimes turn up slightly different results, they tend to show that Tea Party supporters tend more likely than Americans overall to be white, male, married, older than 45, regularly attending religious services, conservative, and to be more wealthy and have more education. Broadly speaking, multiple surveys have found between 10% and 30% of Americans identify as a member of the Tea Party movement. Most Republicans and 20% of Democrats support the movement.
And as Levine points out, Ted Cruz and David Brat are the epitome of this. Both being graduates of the most prestigious private Universities. Both doing very well academically, even graduating magna cum laude. Indeed though there are those who say it’s just a racist movement first popularized in the South, it really is more – and less – than that.
They and Cruz are not the elite but worship those who do have money, especially the elites. They think that everything should be privately owned and bought and sold. They love “free market” capitalism but are hardly libertarian.
The dominant inflection is libertarian. But Tea Party libertarianism is more visceral than philosophical. Tea Partiers talk an earful about freedom, but what they really want is freedom from government interference in areas that matter to them.
Racism and bigotry is only a part of it, for they despise anyone who is not like them. Most especially those below them, those they see as having servitude as their only worth. I read once where racism is only the ultimate in snobbery. Tea Partiers are the ultimate snobs – and snots.
Tea Partiers are also averse to state programs that advance the well being of the least well off, especially when they are not white. In this respect, the Tea Party is like many other right-wing political movements throughout the world. It has a xenophobic, nationalistic and, more or less explicitly, racist tinge.
Mind you, this is primarily about economic and class division, and keeping minorities poor, keeping them as cheap labor.
Levine wonders about their fixation on gun ownership and how these tea party people could also be so educated, maybe not realizing that both go hand in hand. That they feel and believe their high incomes and bank accounts entitle them to be able to defend their possessions and wealth by any means necessary.
One other little item, I would wager that few if any served in the military because their attitude would not be tolerated there for a minute. I say this without fear of contradiction since their attitude toward those who have served is the same as their attitude toward anyone else who is not white and well off.
Levine also explores the Tea Party’s lack of any real political convictions. This is simply because they have no conviction at all outside of their own personal well being.
Let me remind you of who we are talking about. Not those poor whites who associated themselves with the movement, but the upper crust. Lawyers and Doctors and Executives and College Professors and Bankers and Stockbrokers and all. The ones who live in exclusive neighborhoods and high rises and condos and want very much to keep them that way, exclusive. Who want to keep their country clubs off limits to anyone they deem their lessors. And their schools and their neighborhoods and their doctors, office and hospitals …
And mostly to keep from supporting those they despise. They cannot support global warming and that it is man made, for that would make them responsible and they refuse to be responsible for anything.
When pressed, they will say that institutions concocted to make less well-off people better off are counter-productive; that instead of improving the lot of their intended beneficiaries, they make their situation worse. Toobin quotes Cruz making precisely this claim. In the end, though, it comes down to this: most Tea Partiers really really don’t like people who are different from them.
In short, those who consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement may be well educated and smart, but they are about as mature as you average teenager and with the same motivation. Add money to this and you have someone who believes he or she can buy their way out of and into anything they damn well please. Their behavior is not to be questioned, certainly not by any government. Your typical spoiled brat rich kid, and now they have political power. And Cruz is their darling and it’s our posh ivy league institutions that are turning them out by the boat load. Oh narcissistic, too.
So no surprise that their darlings are just as rich as they are.
Last but not least, the religious convictions of the Tea Party are mostly used to validate all of the above and are at best superficial.
There are a hell of a lot of them, in Geauga County, the Villages in Florida, in Arizona. … So it would be smart not to just brush them aside. Nor would I play nice with them in any way. They could be — actually are — big trouble, just like the rich folks who supported Hitler.