What is a “Tea Party Democrat?”
Tea Party backers like to claim that the group belong to no real party, but are instead a grassroots hodgepodge of voters dissatisfied with both Democrats and Republicans. Some even go as far as to state there are Tea Party members who are actually Democrats that just support the group’s belief in limited government.
But does the Tea Party Democrat really exist outside of Republican fairy tales? The Washington Post says:
Republican pollster Dan Hazelwood said that just as some Democrats moved to the GOP because of social issues in recent decades, some are now moving to the tea party because of fiscal issues.
“They have the same populist point of view of the rest of the tea party movement,” Hazelwood said. “Their ideal would be a Dennis Kucinich-type who was anti-spending and for budget austerity. So they are people who are adrift on the left because of spending and on the right because of social issues.”
In essence, the “Tea Party Democrat” exists much in the same way that the “Blue Dog” Democrat or the “Reagan Democrat” exists — it’s the self-identified “Democrat” who almost always votes for the Republican party and stands with their issues rather than that of progressives. The Heath Shulers of the political spectrum.
And it wouldn’t be surprising if ten percent of the Tea Party really were made up of Democrats once you look at that demographic. In Nebraska alone there are a large number of self-identified Democrats who can’t name a single Democrat they have voted for in decades besides Sen. Ben Nelson. In my own family, many of whom are registered Democrats, the biggest debate is over who would make a better president — Herman Cain or Ron Paul. The only thing they do agree on is that either would be a vast improvement over Barack Obama.
Can the Democratic Party win back these Tea Party converts? Not very likely. But then again, they never really had them in the first place, at least, not in anything but name only.