The An-Tea Party
I am just about fed up with all the Tea Party triumphalism coming out of the primary elections. Yes, a whole bunch of highly-motivated teabaggers turned out in droves in a bunch of places and managed to win Shocking Upset Victories in Nevada, Delaware, Kentucky, Alaska, Utah, etc. But as the media often forgets, the GOP is not America, and a majority of Republican voters is not the same as a majority of all voters.
Enter Project Vote’s new poll (PDF), which focuses on the black, youth and low-income voters who are the opposite of the white, old, affluent teabaggers in almost every way. Not only that, but there’s actually more of them: 32% of the electorate to the tea partiers’ 29. And most amazing of all, when you compare their responses to the country as a whole, it turns out that they’re a lot more mainstream and representative of America than the tea partiers are.
Of course, you’d never know it, because the Koch brothers and the tea parties’ other corporate sponsors aren’t paying for them to show up at Glenn Beck/Sarah Palin rallies with, ahem, “colorful” signs, or at health care townhalls to brandish their guns and shout down congressmembers. And they certainly don’t have an entire cable network dedicated to promoting them. They’re more like the Silent Plurality.
Here are some examples of just who looks more like America:
- A 58% of black, youth and low-income voters favor stimulus spending over deficit-cutting, while a 79% majority of tea partiers prefer deficit-cutting. Voters overall favor deficit-cutting, but only by a 49-45% margin.
- 81% of BYLI voters want more education spending, as opposed to only 41% of tea partiers. 65% of voters overall are in the More camp.
- 79% of BYLI voters want the minimum wage set above the poverty line, but only 41% of tea partiers do. 68% of voters overall agree that it should be increased.
- 62% of BYLI voters believe the federal government should provide jobs for everyone who can’t find work in the private sector, vs. 15% of teabaggers. Again, overall voters disagree, but only by a 53-42% margin, which is pretty remarkable for such a… socialist idea.
- 63% of BYLI voters favor reducing the deficit by increasing capital gains taxes, compared to only 29% of tea partiers. Overall, 58% of voters favor or strongly favor.
- 71% of BYLI voters favor reducing the deficit by bringing our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, versus 38% of tea partiers. Overall, the number is 59%.
- 60% of BYLI voters favor raising or removing the Social Security payroll tax cap, only 39% of tea partiers do. 54% of voters in general are in favor.
- 63% of BYLI voters believe that “Government should work to provide for the needs of all citizens,” while 74% of tea partiers believe that “Government should do no more than provide national defense and police protection, so that people are left alone to earn whatever they can.” Overall, voters agree with the first statement 50-42%.
- 66% of BYLI voters have more trust in the government to ensure that banks and credit card companies treat them fairly, while 50% of tea partiers trust the banking and credit card industry more. Overall, voters trust the government by a 63-30% margin. Polling on food safety and fraudulent business practices is similar, but with a slight plurality of tea partiers favoring the government.
So yeah, it looks to me like most Americans are okay with the government doing more than just making the world safe for corporations and rich people. The teabaggers may have the skinny end of the megaphone, but that doesn’t make them representative of anything more than the most anti-government wing of the Republican party.
All this is not to say that the Democrats are in great shape for November; they’re not. But it’s not because everyone’s a teabagger who thinks they’re all radical terrorist-hugging socialists, it’s because Obama and the Democrats have underdelivered for the people and overdelivered for the corporations and wealthy. If they had gone a little bit more socialist and passed a stimulus bill that reduced unemployment and a health care reform bill with a public option and drug price negotiation, I think that most voters would have been just fine with that.