The Tea Party
The Tea Party
A “White Citizenship” Movement?1
This chapter challenges conventional liberal views of Tea Party supporters around race and fiscal conservatism. It argues that Tea Partiers are neither simply racist nor strictly libertarian nor straight-up fiscal conservatives. They are a constituency formed by the powerful framework for in-group/out-group politics that is an inheritance of liberal social welfare policy, and that has grouped individuals by race. The point of this argument is not to indict New Deal public policy. It is, rather, to hold liberals accountable for their share in the Tea Party phenomenon. Liberal social policy has a share in constituting the Tea Party, not just by provoking its backlash, but also by helping to define the terms in which Tea Party supporters recognize themselves. The Tea Party movement belongs to liberal America even as Tea Party rhetoric denounces liberalism and liberals denounce Tea Partiers.
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