Researchers from the University of Notre Dame have linked Tea Party support to educational segregation. The study focused on Tea Party groups in 2010, when the Koch-funded astroturf “movement” was still pretending to be “grass-roots, and how the conservative group has been able to “support it needed to credibly present itself as a grassroots movement representing ordinary Americans, and thus exert influence on voters and the political process.”
While the Tea Party may seem like something about which we have a good laugh, it is important to remember that this group–people like Sarah Palin–can still have influence.
Political sociologist Rory McVeigh explained:
“If they represent a district where there is a lot of Tea Party support, they are vulnerable to challenges in primary elections from candidates who claim to be representing the Tea Party agenda — supporting sharp spending cuts and low taxes and vigorously resisting most any proposal that Obama and the Democrats have put forth.”
“So even without the protests and the rallies, politicians have to be mindful of the Tea Party, and there are highly resourced conservative organizations that are willing to back candidates advancing the Tea Party agenda and oppose those who are not.”
But what makes one support the Tea Party? McVeigh says educational segregation plays a huge role in whether or not one will choose to don a tricorn hat and wave the Gadsden flag while complaining about “socialism.”
From the University Herald:
The political polarization that we witness today is linked to the way in which Americans live in segregated worlds,” University of Notre Dame political sociologist Rory McVeigh, whose study, “Educational Segregation, Tea Party Organizations, and Battles over Distributive Justice,” was recently published in the American Sociological Review, said in a statement.
For the study, McVeigh and his colleagues examined why certain counties in the United States are conducive to the establishment of Tea Party organizations.
Based on their findings, Tea Party organizations were much more likely to form in counties with high levels of residential segregation based on education levels, and that college graduates were more likely to indicate support for the Tea Party if they resided in a county characterized by high levels of educational segregation.
“Acceptance or rejection of the Tea Party’s views on the government’s role in redistributing wealth is shaped, to a large degree, by the extent to which those who have benefited from higher education are set apart in their daily lives from those who have not,” McVeigh, who specializes in inequality, social movements, race and ethnicity, said.”As the article explains, the commonly held view that individuals and families who are struggling to get by are undeserving of government assistance is reinforced when the highly educated have limited contact with those who have been less fortunate.”
CBS recently reported that Republicans are narrowly favored to win the Senate in November. The New York Times/CBS News Battleground Tracker estimates that Republicans will win 51 seats to Democrats’ 49.
It is extremely important that we all remember to vote this year. Remind your friends, neighbors, families, and pets to get out there and vote blue in November!