There’s hopeful speculation all over the blogosphere that the Teaparty is done for. I hope so too and given that polls are not looking good for them lately there’s reason to think that. But let’s not limit ourselves to wishful thinking, let’s instead include rational analysis and testable predictions. There are two primary factors driving that movement: 1) billionaire money and 2) neo-confederate ideology. Think of them as lords and vassals. If either one of those were to start dying on the vine, the Teaparty movement would be in trouble. I don’t know the exact number, but they don’t need the Chamber of Commerce or Wall Street. A huge chunk of the money side is driven by a tiny handful of creepy zillionaires like the Koch Brothers. The other populist component reaches back in hallowed American antiquity:
WaPo — Today’s tea party-ized Republicans speak less for Wall Street or Main Street than they do for the seething resentments of white Southern backwaters and their geographically widespread but ideologically uniform ilk. Their theory of government, to the extent that they have one, derives from John C. Calhoun’s doctrine of nullification — that states in general and white minorities in particular should have the right to overturn federal law and impede majority rule. Like their predecessors in the Jim Crow South, today’s Republicans favor restricting minority voting rights if that is necessary to ensure victory at the polls.
This has been with us as a nation since pre-Civil War days. Recall that that war would not have been possible, or would have been much shorter at the very least, if not for millions of destitute families who nevertheless proudly waved on their pre-teen sons and teenage brothers and twenty-something fathers, into a deadly hail of Union musket-balls and cannon fire, to preserve the extravagant lifestyle of a few dozen, fabulously wealthy landowners.
It’s true that a black President may have further stoked those simmering racist fires and started new blazes wherever dixie has migrated over the decades since. That movement has existed for almost two-centuries and it can call itself whatever it wants. If “Teaparty” becomes unpopular they can switch to something else. But it’s that combo of money to burn and long standing racist hatred that fuels the movement. Until one or both goes away, the underlying movement will survive in one form or another.
A testable prediction would be that polls continue to trend away from the Teaparty through the midterms and beyond. That being an avowed Teaparty candidate works against politicians instead of for them in 2014 and 2016. Or that Kochwhore funding dries up and clowns like Matt Kibbe and Michelle Bachmann find themselves having to learn a new skill to stay gainfully employed. If any of that happens, yeah, they’re probably done for in this present incarnation. But the South may rise again … and again and again.