[By Nic Lindh on Thursday, 24 October 2013]
It’s accepted wisdom the outré right-wing fanatics of the Tea Party are spawned and fed by the combination of jerrymandering and closed primaries that become Thunderdomes where only the most ideologically pure survive the vote of fired-up extremists.
But if that’s true, where are all the fanatic liberals? If one district houses Tea Partiers, shouldn’t the district next door hold staunch liberals racing each other to be first to the Worker’s Paradise?
At minimum, you’d expect some place like California to produce die-hards. If they’re out there, I sure haven’t seen them.
So where are they? Or is the theory wrong and Democrats and Republicans are not as extreme?
One theory is that people, no matter their ideological bent, get fired up when the issues they care the most about are at risk. So when gay people come out of the closet, extremist Christians lose their shit and start voting more, much the same way the war in Vietnam galvanized the left.
Which would make the Tea Party make sense, as the overarching changes in society lately have been toward a more liberal state with an increase in the proportion of non-white people, the aforementioned gay people getting the right to marry, church attendance decreasing, etc.
Which would mean that, no, Captain Balance, both parties are not getting more extreme. Democrats are continuing to elect cocktail-party types who enjoy smooth jazz and finger food and Republicans are electing Tea Partiers.
It would be nice to see this reflected in the media instead of the knee-jerk faux balance.
If I’m wrong and the House of Representatives has Democratic representatives sprouting Marx, do please let me know.
Why pick communists as a counter to the Tea Party? Because if you think of the left-right political spectrum as a line across your screen, the Tea Party occupies a point equivalent to where communists would be on the other side of the center.
Which leads to an inescapable conclusion: No matter how much return the billionaire investors in the Tea Party have reaped on their investment, at least they’ve been successful in the most basic way: The Tea Party is shifting the center of American politics to the right in a profound way. Which may very well be the end game.
False balance coverage of the political process is obscuring that most basic fact by asserting—without any evidence—that both sides are doing the same thing. Journalists who take part in it should be ashamed.