You might be surprised!
Look at typical news photos of Tea Party rallies and you see older, mostly white Americans.
Polls show that this geriatric image of the Tea Party is accurate. Well over 80% of those at Tea Party events are over 45 years old.
Is there any room at the table for the young? Would young Americans even be interested in the movement?
You might be surprised. I was.
In her new book “Boiling Mad,” Kate Zernike reports that young conservatives are key organizers behind the Tea Party. A grassroots network of young Americans tweeted and conference-called the first outbursts of Tea Party events around the country. And, young conservatives continue to be the driving force behind the organizing, even though they are not the public face of the movement.
“These young Turks were well versed in the new social media that was changing political campaigns,” writes Zernike.
“And they provided the movement with an ideology, largely libertarian and marked by a purist and ‘originalist’ view of the Constitution.”
This ideology was attractive to older Americans, Zernike says, because it rang of patriotism, liberty, and inerrant truth of the Constitution. (Click here to read what I wrote about originalism last year.)
Ironically, not only are the young organizers adept with social media, they are also well-schooled in the art of community organizing. They use the same manuals that liberals, radicals, and even Communists used long before them—Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” and Douglas Hyde’s “Dedication and Leadership” (which describes how the Communist Party in Great Britain gained its members).
If young conservatives continue to drive the movement, then it won’t “die out” early as many critics claim (or hope). So: Are you surprised at the behind-the-scenes role of young conservatives?
What do you think it means for the vitality and staying power of the Tea Party?
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