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Political Parties, Unit 3

Polarisation of US Politics- Republican Divisions

The Economist carries an article this week that examines the Tea Party challenges in the Republican Senatorial contests. A key target for the Tea Party is Richard Lugar (Sen for Indiana)- a moderate, long serving Republican. Another long serving Republican Senator being targetted is Orrin Hatch, who in a great turn of phrase is described as already on the ‘tanniny end’ of the spectrum- with strong ratings from pro- life, pro- business and  pro- gun groups.

The conclusion from this anecdote is that while Lugar is clearly challenged on ideological grounds. Hatch is an indication that the Tea Party are oppositional on grounds of partisanship alone.

It goes on to suggest that the Tea Party are waning- however at the expense of the Republicans shifting to the right. (a classic response to a third party). Pay attention to the section on the ‘pendulum effect’ as it is an interesting analysis of how party ideological positions change.

Finally the article examines the troublesome nature of the new Republicans voted into the House in 2010. Suggesting that the need to constantly manage and cajole them into following the party line is wasting Boehner’s energy and limiting the efficacy of Congress.


More on the Republican shift to the right can be found in another Economist article titled ‘Are the Republican’s mad?’






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