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Perhaps the most covered narrative in recent American politics is the rise of the Tea Party. The Tea Party movement can be summed us as the republican base who is largely lost faith in the Republican establishment. They are generally older, white and Christian. They are fans of Fox News, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck in particular.
The Tea Party candidates have been a force to reckon with in Republican primary races where they have defeated establishment candidates in Kentucky, Delaware, Nevada, Alaska, and Utah among others. They have caused all sitting Republican politicians to fear any cooperation with democrats. Simply any vote for any democratic agenda item is grounds for a primary challenge. This has caused gridlock in Congress as one party is simply unable or unwilling to work with the other. The Republican party is held hostage by their own base.
The Tea Party has allowed the Republican Party to rebrand itself and distance itself from the unpopular Bush years. Years noted by tax cuts, excessive spending, wars and recession. The problem they are encountering comes from Tea Party candidates that may appeal to the Republican base but have big problems appealing to independents. Many candidates has taken extreme positions such as the following:
- Privatizing or elimatig social security.
- Changing Medicare to a private system and leaving Medicare recipients to the mercy of private insurance companies.
- The most extreme of candidates have called for abolishing the department of education.
- Repealing the 14th amendment, which guarantees citizenship to anyone born in the US and was passed by the Republican Party following the civil war.
It is yet to be seen how the Tea Party candidates will fair in the general election in November. Many pundits expect the Tea Party candidates to lose in Delaware and Nevada. Some races will be more competitive than they otherwise should have been. Most notably, Conway vs Paul in Kentucky.