CHANGE THEY <i>CAN'T</i> BELIEVE IN by Christopher S. Parker

CHANGE THEY CAN'T BELIEVE IN

The Tea Party and Reactionary Politics in America

KIRKUS REVIEW

Two University of Washington political science professors offer a rigorous scholarly investigation of the tea party.

Parker (Fighting For Democracy: Black Veterans and the Struggle Against White Supremacy in the Postwar South, 2009) and Barreto (Ethnic Cues: The Role of Shared Ethnicity in Latino Political Participation, 2010) make the case that tea party supporters are driven above all by “anxiety incited by Obama as President.” Intuitively, this may already make sense to many readers, but the authors muster the evidence in support, dividing and subdividing different categories of political activity and belief to arrive at a firm basis for their conclusion. They support the steps of the argument with bar charts, regression analysis and a methodological appendix. They identify the tea party's racism and commitment to the policies of a bygone age with reactionary, revolutionary conservatism, as opposed to the evolutionary type. For them, the tea party is the latest in a series of organizations and movements that include the Know-Nothing movement, the Ku Klux Klan and the John Birch Society. Parker and Barreto established frames of analysis by studying 42 tea party websites over two years and comparing them with the more orthodox conservative publication the National Review Online. The authors then employed a multistate survey of race and politics to “tease out” differences between the supporters and sympathizers of the six different tea party formations. The belief that Obama is destroying the country, held by more than 70 percent of tea partiers, shows they are out of step with the mainstream of conservatism, where only 6 percent hold that belief.

A dispassionate, academic account supported by reasoned facts in place of political passions.

Pub Date: May 26th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-691-15183-0
Page count: 376pp
Publisher: Princeton Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2013




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