You can tell that someone feels threatened by you when they publicly degrade and poke fun at you. Given that standard, the Tea Party has been under the skin of Democrats from the day that it sprung to life a little more than 2 years ago. As recent as the current budget battle, Harry Reid blames the Tea Party for not allowing Republicans to compromise on the Federal budget and perpetuate the excessive government spending. Thanks Harry. That’s the nicest thing you’ve said about the Tea Party in recent memory.
But why does the Democratic leadership actually fear the impact of the Tea Party? Yes the Tea Party is on the other side of the ideological spectrum from the Far Left wing of the Democratic Party. Clearly the Tea Party is fiscally conservative, believes in constitutionally limited government, and favors free market solutions. However those positions are an accurate description of most conservative voters’ beliefs so that isn’t what is under the Democratic leaders’ skin.
The average Tea Party member is over 35 years old. That fact aligns with the typical conservative voting demographic that includes individuals over 35 years of age with a skewing of the population to those 55 and older. So the Left’s concern isn’t caused by the fact that the Tea Party is a threat to the Left’s hold on older voters. The older voting population has always been split between the left and the conservatives. The older Americans with a taker mentality are liberal, and those with a builder mentality are conservative.
It’s the WOMEN. Yes, that’s the reason why the Tea Party makes Democrats crazy. The Democrats desperately want to be able to depict any opponents on their right as “Angry White Males.” However the angry white male label is simply a way for the Left to smear someone as a villain. The real threat to the Democrats comes from conservative women. The Left has always claimed that women are one of their core constituencies. As such, Democrats have a difficult time labeling a whole group of women with a slanderous label, like “Angry White Women”. That’s why their reaction against conservative women isn’t targeted at the whole group but is aimed at discrediting and humiliating specific individuals. Note their relentless attacks on Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann.
The reason why the Tea Party is a threat to the Left is that a majority of Tea Party membership and Tea Party leadership is female. For example, a Quinnipiac University poll showed that 55% of Tea Party membership were women. As you look at Tea Party leadership, you see the same thing. In 2010, 15 of 25 Tea Party Patriot State Coordinators were women as were 5 of 9 National Coordinators.
Given that liberal women have been among the most outspoken members of the Democratic Party, why are conservative women now front and center? Conservative women are often married, working and have children. Thus, they are very busy. Traditionally conservative women have had very little time to commit to politics until their children were grown and out on their own. However once a mother perceives that there is a threat to her family or a threat to the future of her children, she kicks into overdrive. Sarah Palin jokes about the “momma grizzly” but that isn’t really a joke. Conservative women have taken the national stage overshadowing their liberal sisters because they can clearly see that the wasteful government spending, liberal extremist regulations, and the government takeover of healthcare are direct threats to their families.
This emergence of conservative women has also made the Democratic Party aware of some of the challenging character traits possessed by many of their liberal female supporters. Most conservative women have a positive disposition about life, are married and love children. Even the Left understands why it’s harder to increase their ranks if their female supporters aren’t creating the next generation of liberals. It’s kind of difficult to procreate if you are bitter, hate men, and favor killing the unborn.
One way to summarize the Left’s concern is with the well-known saying: “When Momma isn’t happy, nobody’s happy.” Well Momma ain’t happy, and she’s taking things into her own hands. It is her hands that firmly pulled the levers to the right in the fall 2010 elections, and those same hands are working to elect even more conservative candidates in 2012. So the next time you hear Harry Reid complaining about the “Angry White Men” remember what he is really thinking but can’t say is, “those conservative women are kicking my butt, and they scare me.”
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Great article and spot on.