Aug 1, 2015, 11:44

Who is an American? Tea Parties, Nativism, and the Birthers


The Revolutionary War-era costumes, the yellow “Don’t tread on me” Gadsden flags from the same era, the earnest recitals of the pledge of allegiance, the over-stated veneration of the Constitution, and the defense of “American exceptionalism” in a world turned towards transnational economies and global institutions: all are signs of the over-arching nationalism that helps define the Tea Party movement.

It is a form of American nationalism, however, that does not include all Americans, and separates itself from those it regards as insufficiently “real Americans.” Consider in this regard, a recent Tea Party Nation Newsletter article entitled, “Real Americans Did Not Sue Arizona.” Or the hand-drawn sign at a Tea Party rally that was obviously earnestly felt. “I am a arrogant American, unlike our President, I am proud of my country, our freedom, our generosity, no apology from me.”

Origins of the Tea Parties


The founding moments of the contemporary Tea Party movement were many. Several were grassroots in nature, developing outside the existing power centers in Washington, D.C. and in the more remote regions where conservative politics meets a more libertarian (right-wing and anti-statist) opposition. Others derived directly from elements within the Republican Party apparatus and began as proxies for the party itself.


Tea Party Nationalism is the first report of its kind. It examines the six national organizational networks at the core of the Tea Party movement: FreedomWorks Tea Party, 1776 Tea Party, Tea Party Nation, Tea Party Patriots, ResistNet, and Tea Party Express. This report documents the corporate structures and leaderships, their finances, and membership concentrations of each faction. It looks at the actual relationships of these factions to each other, including some of the very explicit differences they have with each other. And we begin an analysis of the larger politics that motivate each faction and the Tea Party movement generally.

President Obama Released his Long-Form Birth Certificate, but that won't quiet the racism of the birthers.

Birtherism 2.0 - "Natural Born" Racism


Now that President Obama has attempted to quell the surge of birtherism by providing a copy of his oft-requested long form-birth certificate, will that satisfy the birthers? Will they go away now?


Long before President Obama released his long-form birth certificate, Tea Party leaders and other birthers had already concocted outlandish new twists on birther racism.  Clumsily forged Kenyan birth certificates, failed lawsuits, cries of conspiracy, and the cottage industry of birther books and videos have popped up in the last few years.  Indeed, leading birther activists have invented an incomprehensible array of bogus arguments and convinced themselves that a black man could not possibly be president of the United States.  Now, they are not going down without a fight.

The Death of the Tea Parties? Not So Fast...


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Tea Party Faction Membership

Many pundits were quick to pronounce the Tea Party movement dead after failing to stop the passage of health care legislation. Conventional wisdom also held that the bigoted and violent behavior displayed by Tea Partiers over the weekend would negatively impact their growth. Let’s examine the data before we begin drafting a Tea Party obituary.

Instead of membership going flat or declining, online membership in each of the different national Tea Party factions has continued to rise. In fact, several factions experienced sharp increases in the last week.