Free The Tea Party Movement Essay Sample
The Greatest Ideological Divisions in the U.S. is within Parties and not between them
It has always been a common knowledge that the United States of America is divided into two ideological beliefs in the form of political parties. They are the Democratic and the Republican Parties which are also known as the liberal and conservative consequently. Today, it cannot be denied that the political polarization has become wider than in the 1940s. Back then, the difference between the two political parties according to Lepore (2013) cannot be pointed out and that nobody can identify which is liberal and conservative. It was only in 1964 that the political parties were sorted through ideology where I the Republican went to the right and the Democratic left. This movement apart was evident with the opposing views of party leaders and members on the issues of social welfare, and economy (Lepore, 2013, pp. 5). Lepore also added that during the Civil Rights Movement, the complexion of party members shifted. The white conservative democrats in the South abandoned the party while most African-Americans were drawn into the Democratic Party as it favors their cultural and other social issues of minorities.
The polarization today as mentioned earlier has become wider and clearer. The Republicans became consistently conservative while the Democrats are consistently liberal. In the research done by Doherty (2014), it showed the growing animosity between parties from 1994 to 2014. Democrat attitude that perceives Republicans as threat to the well-being of the nation jumped from 16% to 27%. On the other hand, the Republicans that perceive the Democrats as such grew from 17% to 36%.
While the political polarization between the parties continues to widen over time, there is a divide on going within parties that needs to be discussed more often. Tutorhunt’s article entitled, “Democratic and Republican Parties are now Ideologically Distinct and Internally United” mentioned that internal unity of Parties are now in question because of the emergence of factions from both major Parties. This is about the rise of the Tea Party and Blue Dogs which tutorhunt’s article described as the demonstration of parties’ divisions from within.
Moreover, it the factions depicts that in the midst of polarization, it cannot be equated into major political parties having homogenous ideology. The United States is too large to divide its population into two homogenous groups. Americans are diverse in terms of culture, economy and politics that is why the rise of sub groups or factions within parties is an unavoidable matter. Further, most American people are not really strictly liberal or strictly conservative. They have the right to break out from the strictly partisan views to several issues.
Pilkington (2013) in an online article in The Guardian recalled how the Tea Party Movement began within the Republican Party. It began with a number of outraged conservatives on the issue of bail-out. Many of the conservatives reacted on the move of the government of spending their taxes for bailing-out what they call “losers”. The Obama administration they ranted is using their money for unnecessary purposes without having their consent. The protest started in the Market Ticker chat until one of the chat participants started posting tea bags to their representatives in Congress. Others also followed the posting until it became a trend and was called the Tea Party Movement. The memberships of the Tea Party are predominantly white and are more conservative than the rest of the population. They oppose the reform on health care program of Barrack Obama. In the conducted surveys, it appeared that the Tea Party are in the side of the Republicans as they have already endorsed Republican political candidates and despised that of the Democratic Party.
Perlberg (2014) mentioned in his article that it was Rick Santelli who started the Tea Party Movement with his five-minute rant on the home owners’ bail-out. In that five-minute rant, Santelli said that Americans are already tired of paying off their neighbours’ debt. For him, the bail-out system of the U.S. government is promoting a bad behaviour among the home owners. He explained that it is the responsibility of their neighbours to pay their own dues but the government is arbitrarily making them pay those dues. The Marxist analysis on the rise of the Tea Party states it is an indicator that the capitalist social and economic crisis is intensifying. The analysis explained that if this happens the more rightist conservative program will rise like the Tea Party that mainly favors the interest of the capitalists. As Rick Santelli mentioned in his rant, he was calling for all capitalist come out as he is going to mobilize a Tea Party protest against bailing out “losers”.
The Marxist analysis on the Tea Party Movement also mentioned that even prior to the rant of Santelli, a website of the Chicago Tea Party was registered in the name of a famous right-wing Republican. This is then contradictory to what Santelli mentioned in his interview that his rant was an in-the-moment outburst. The analysis said that the rising of the Tea Party movement was backed by the big capitalists who are also with the conservative Republicans.
Blue Dog Democrat
If there is a Tea Party linked with the Republicans, there is also a faction arose within the Democratic Party. This is called the Blue Dog Democrats. According to Murse, the aforementioned term was formed to describe members of the Democratic Party who are more conservative in taking some issues. It was specifically pointing at the Democrats who are members of the House of Representatives who are positioning themselves in moderately which means, not so liberal but not so conservative. The growing numbers of the Blue Dogs Murse added fell in 2010 when the gap between the liberals and conservatives grew even wider. The Blue Dogs Democrats was founded in 1994 when the House was predominantly conservatives. The founders felt that the Democratic Party has turned extremely left and that they did not want to be associated with it. Thus, they drew the line by forming the faction to distinguish them from the left Democrats.
It is believed that the Blue Dog Democrats started when some members of the Democratic Party felt choked on the extreme positions of the major parties. The members of this faction consider themselves as in the middle of the partisan arena. As they are not that passionate on the extreme party lines, they avoid meddling with it as long as they can secure the financial stability and national security of the United States of America. In 2011 to 2012, there were 25 members of the House of Representatives who associated themselves with the Blue Dog Democrats. Some of the 25 are Jason Altmire from Pennsylvania; Joe Barrow, Sanford Bishop, and Dan Boren from Georgia; Leonard Boswell from Iowa; and Ben Chandler from Kentucky.
This political divide within the Democratic Party shows that it is difficult to have a one party with homogenous members with homogenous ideology. Suddath (2009) in her article in Time said that the members of the faction are disgruntled in the hard core party lines of the Democratic Party that caused their defeat in 1994 at the House of Representatives. Most of the members of the faction as Suddath mentioned believe that the people cannot already fathom the extreme lines. They formed their own coalition with a purpose to go against the left liberals in the House. Some of them eventually decided to shift to Republican Party. Some of the members of the House who wanted to be in the middle joined the Democratic faction. Suddath mentioned that the new members of the coalition are called Blue Pups.
Despite the Blue Dogs appearing as weaker party members, they served as the bridge in the growing polarization. However, the rise of factions can cause confusion among the people and may disgruntle the masses regarding political partisan system. It is because the Blue Dogs are still associated with the Democratic Party but their positions on major issues of the country are leaning towards the Republicans. For example, the War in Iraq was vehemently opposed by the Democratic Party while their faction voted yes to it together with the Republicans. The recently delayed reform on Obama’s health care system is due to violent reactions from the Blue Dogs. The reform is entitled the Affordable Care Act. One of the provisions of this reform is paying the health care providers enough in order to lessen the health care cost that every American citizen will endure. Moreover, it involves the reform in the health insurance system to make health accessible and affordable. The Blue Dog Democrats believe that the financial cost of the reform is too high.
Liberals and Democrats labels are not Apt Anymore
While it is true that the ideological gap between the Democrats and Republicans are growing wider, labelling them as either liberal or conservative. It is because the Centrist democrats or the Blue Dog Democrats can no longer relate with the term liberal. The said term is owned by the Democrats who are consistently left. While the liberals focus on reforming the government system to favour the working class, the factions tend to lean towards capitalists.
The divide within the Democratic Party according to Lam (2014) may lead to an advantage for the Party because of its diverse capture of membership. However, it will more often than not, cause the difficulty in uniting the bigger party. It is difficult to unite a one party with clearly opposing ideals. For example, the Centrist Democrats led by Booker strongly believes that government and private partnerships will help a community to grow better. The education is cited as an example where Booker recommended that choosing to enrol in private schools accessing a quality education system. That is why he proposed a subsidy system for the poor to be enrolled in private institutions rather than in public schools. The liberal democrats on the other hand would strongly oppose the idea because the answer for quality education system for them is improving the systems in public schools by allotting more budgets to it. That ideology alone gives a picture of how rugged is the road for unity inside the Democratic Party.
Lam (2014) also mentioned that the while the Democratic Party faces ideological disunity, so is the Republican Party and their case is worse. They have three overlapping and opposing ideas. These are the older generation, the younger generation and the Tea Party movement voice. Lam added that there is also a strong disagreement within the party regarding how far they go right in their positions. Furthermore, there is a brewing faction within called the Libertarian. They have no appearance yet but it is said that it was triggered by the Snowden leaks. The Libertarian Republicans strongly position themselves in favour of civil liberty than of security. The leaders of the Libertarian went as far as suing the Obama administration for the crime it committed against civil liberties as confirmed by the leakage from whistle blower, Snowden.
Both the two major parties are in dilemma of how to trigger unity within despite the factions as the 2016 election is fast approaching. The Republicans has lost for several times in the Presidential and House elections. Thus, there is already a need for them to think of a way to unite the opposing ideas within and buckle up for the elections. Recently, in the issue of Gay Marriage, one can clearly manifest the disunity among the Republicans. The others who are known to be consistently conservative are expected to rant against it while the centrist Republicans would despise the conservative position on this matter. The centrist republicans even called this as the growing intolerance with the other members of the House disputing the gay marriage.
The Growing Political Spectrum
The growing spectrum in the ideology in the American Politics is but a natural phenomenon in any organization. People are rational beings whose beliefs changes overtime. A time will always come that rational members of major parties or even factions question the ideology that the party is following. It already happened within the major parties in the United States. People will not always remain as conservative or otherwise. People will always find a way to innovate in order to attain the political changes that they want. The Blue Dog Democrats pull away from the liberal democrats as they do not already adhere to the liberal ideals of the former. The Tea Party on the other hand questioned the Republicans’ the slight changes happening within their party. People from the Tea Party want control over the financial stability and national security. Anything without the two issues will not interest them. Their conservatism is higher than the other Republicans.
The rise of factions widened the political spectrum with some on the center, near the center, the extreme left, the extreme right, and even those who position themselves near right and near left. As mentioned from the beginning, America is a huge country with diverse population. The diversity of the population cannot be polarized into two sides only. While it must be easier for the Americans to choose an ideology if there is only two opposing sides, it is not also correct to suppress the upcoming colors within the spectrum. The belief system is complicated that cannot only be labelled with black and white. The country will only come up with a best society if the people question the existing systems.
Further, America has a long history of migration of people coming from different race, ethnic and class. With this alone, it is expected that people differ from point of views. These points of views are rooted from their cultural backgrounds. Moreover, in the principle of sociology, the way people think changes. Like what happened in both parties where factions arose because the leaders changed how they perceived issues. The Blue Dog Democrats did not already adhere to the leaning of the left-wing democrats so they free themselves from it and created a new. In this growing spectrum of ideologies, there is a need to mobilize the tolerance from the opposing parties. People are not stagnant even in terms of beliefs that are why the parties should understand it in order to be successful in uniting the factions in a common cause. Without tolerance, ideologies from within will clash and animosity against each other will be created.
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Doherty, C., 2014. 7 Things to Know about Polarization in America. Pew Research Center. [online]. Available at: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/06/12/7-things-to-know-about-polarization-in-america/. [Accessed 1 January 2015].
Pilkington, E., 2010. How the Tea Party Movement Began. The Guardian. [online]. Available at:http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/oct/05/us-midterm-elections-2010-tea-party-movement. [Accessed 3 January 2015].
Perlberg, S., 2014. Rick Santelli Started the Tea Party with a Rant exactly Five Years Ago Today – Here’s How he Feels About it Now. Business Insider. [online]. Available at: http://www.businessinsider.com/rick-santelli-tea-party-rant-2014-2. [Accessed 3 January 2015].
Proletarian Revolution., 2010. Race, Class and the Crisis: A Marxist Analysis on the Tea Party Movement. Proletarian Revolution. [online]. Available at: http://www.lrp-cofi.org/statements/teaparty.html. [Accessed 3 January 2015].
Murse, T., Blue Dog Democrat: Definition and Political Philosophy. About News. [online]. Available at: http://uspolitics.about.com/od/democrats/a/Blue-Dog-Democrat.htm. [Accessed 3 January 2015].
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Deficit-Reducing Health Care Reform. Jobs and the Economy: Putting America Back to Work. [online]. Available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/economy/reform/deficit-reducing-health-care-reform. [Accessed 3 January 2015].
Lam, T., 2014. The Competing Factions within the Democratic and the Republican Party. The Amerigo. [online]. Available at: http://www.theamerigo.com/2014/04/27/the-competing-factions-within-the-democratic-and-the-republican-party/. [Accessed 3 January 2015].
Peoples, S., and Thomas, K., 2014. Gay Marriage is Opening a Divide in the Republican Party. Associated Press. [online]. Available at: http://www.businessinsider.com/gay-marriage-is-opening-a-divide-in-the-republican-party-2014-10. [Accessed 3 January 2015].