Via Andrew Sullivan (seems like I find a lot of interesting stuff reading his blog) comes a great article by Michael Lind that points out that Southerners dominate the Tea Party. His idea is that, for one reason or another, southerners have been consistently willing to jeopardize the country’s stability to get their way from the late 1700s to the present. Lind writes:
“Contradicting the mainstream media narrative that the Tea Party is a new populist movement that formed spontaneously… the facts show that the Tea Party in Congress is merely the familiar old neo-Confederate Southern right under a new label.”
Quite true, although I should point out that the populist movements of yore were not entirely separate from confederate movements. The South, at any rate, was certainly a part of the original populist movement.
One thing to know about the South is that it is more rural in comparison to the rest of the country, and has been almost since the beginning. As I’ve discussed before, nationalism seems to be stronger in rural areas, whereas city living lends itself, naturally, more to a cosmopolitan attitude. I suspect that the fact that the South has always had a strong military tradition is also highly significant.
Of course, there is also the issue of racism. Better writers than myself have tackled that major aspect of the question. But I sometimes suspect that even if there were no issues of racial prejudice involved, the Nationalistic part of the party would still be behaving in a manner similar to this.