The Tea Party and Grassroots Democracy

Morning Edition features an interview with journalist Jonathan Rauch, discussing the tea party in general, and his article in the current edition of the National Journal.  Some segments of the movement are determined to serve the grassroots under any circumstances, ready to suffer defeats for a long time in order to build a democratic conservative movement.

Rauch cites me as skeptical of their prospects.  Of course, lots of movements start with such aspirations.  (Think Populists, Greens, antinuclear power activists, the Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee, Students for a Democratic Society–think about anarcho-syndicalism altogether.)  They can become established Washington interest groups or they can dissipate and fade away—often, both.

Let me know how I’m wrong on this one.

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About David S. Meyer

Author and professor of Sociology and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine
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