Academics dub tea partyers devout, racist

More than a dozen papers at the conference peered into the tea party, its philosophical underpinnings and its role in the 2010 elections, with papers ranging from “Civil Rights and LGBTQ Scapegoats in the Tea Party Movement” and “Passionate Patriotism: Gender and the Discourse of Anger in the Tea Party Movement”…

Tea partyers gather on the steps of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis in September 2010 for the “Gateway to November” rally hosted by the St. Louis Tea Party and Tea Party Patriots.

Two years after it burst onto the political scene, the tea party is getting a critical eye from political science academics who say the movement’s adherents are knowledgeable and religiously devout – but hypocritical and more likely to be motivated by “racial resentment.”

Gathering this weekend in Seattle for the annual American Political Science Association convention, several professors argued that tea party Republicans are more likely than other voters and more likely than most others in the GOP to harbor racial hostility, as judged by their answers in a broad pre-election survey administered in October.

“Tea Party activists have denied accusations that their movement is racist, and there is nothing intrinsically racist about opposing ‘big government’ or clean-energy legislation or health care reform. But it is clear that the movement is more appealing to people who are unsympathetic to blacks and who prefer a harder line on illegal immigration than it is to other Americans,” Gary C. Jacobson, a professor at the University of California at San Diego, wrote in his paper, “The President, the Tea Party, and Voting Behavior in 2010.”


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