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Populism, Party Disunity, and American Politics

The TeaParty has big dreams. They dream of third party status, becoming powerful, directing public policy, controlling the government. As a movement, they are big, big dreamers.

Throughout American electoral history social movements in search of political power have transformed themselves into pseudo political parties, often with quite limited success. Important examples include the temperance and agrarian movements, as well as efforts by leftist and labor groups and the Progressives of the 1940s. The National Organization for Women is just another one of those movements that attempted to build a third party, and failed. Of course none of these movements have become competitive political parties.

There are well know constitutional impediments to becoming a full fledged, competitive third party.    Many authors have written about these handicaps. (see, Lipset [1950] 1968; Blocker 1976; Gusfield 1963; Laslett 1970; Un- ger 1964; Markowitz 1973) What remains unclear, however, is the impact of movement-party dynamics on the viability of these efforts.

There is no doubt the Republican party, of which the T-Bag movement is but a small subset. Regular Republicans are veering even more rightward, to keep the T-Bag subset from voting for third party candidates, taking the vote away from Republican candidates. They are adept at using the word "populism" while at the same time stopping unemployment benefits, and advocating the continuation of the Bush Era tax cuts.

We will have to see if more of the people can be fooled most of the time by these tactics.

Here is Mike Pence, talking at Matthews, hating on the umemployed, spouting off Tea Party rhetoric, but never able to name one program he would cut from the federal budget. Oh Mike Pence, why do you hate working class American's who don't have jobs?

See video

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