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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Eve of Destruction

Are you still puzzled by the extremist rhetoric of Republican pols in this era of domination by the Tea Party Movement (a.k.a., the GOP’s radicalized conservative base)?
A new 13-state survey from the University of Washington’s Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race and Sexuality finds some especially illuminating characteristics of self-identified Tea Party folk that helps explain the unusual heat of their political utterances. Asked if they subscribed to the proposition that “Barack Obama is destroying the country,” 71% of Tea Party Conservatives said “yes” while only 6% of other conservatives agreed.
The 6% represent the kind of conservatives who were until recently typical in the Republican Party–perhaps deeply convinced their opponents were terribly wrong about all sorts of things, but not really believing the whole country was going to hell in a handbasket. This essentially reflects the difference between people who view themselves as part of a democratic conversation over the future direction of America, and people who have adopted a separatist and proto-revolutionary posture.
Never underestimate what the latter group is capable of doing.

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