John Dean referred to them as Conservatives Without Conscience in his 2007 book by that title. (There was no Tea Party in 2007.) Robert Altemeyer, a key contributor to Dean’s book, refers to them as right-wing authoritarians (RWA):
- Social/religious RWAs are mostly followers and are mostly members of, or identify with, the Tea Party
- Neocons are extreme punishment RWA leaders who run pro-war think tanks
- “Double high” RWAs are psychopathic super leaders – jury, judge and executioner – like Cheney and most corporate CxOs, and all are plutocrats.
Most followers depend on Fox News and hate radio for reinforcing their right-wing world view, and few even elect a small number of RWA Democrat followers. All RWA leaders are either elected officials from the Republican Party or work for Fox News, conservative think tanks or hate radio – along with some Libertarians.
RWAs represent only 20 to 25% of the populace, but they control most state governments and our federal government. A fearful RWA minority of followers, who always vote Republican, elected this RWA minority leadership that has brought our democracy to the brink of total destruction.
Equally troubling is a larger group of citizens, who have been tricked into thinking shopping is more important than voting or participating in any way in our politics. This group’s lack of participation has made it easy for the politically active RWA minority to take control.
In Comment on the Tea Party Professor Robert Altemeyer puts it this way:
… Most Americans do not like radicals of any stripe, they want gifted people running the government, and they will turn on liars once they discover the lies. Thus Sarah Palin hurt the GOP ticket in 2008. But in the short run, meaning this year of 2010, I see a great danger. The rock-solid Republican base has been recharged and augmented. It will bust a gut to send as many radical social/economic conservatives to Congress as possible. While the Tea Party movement is opposed by a significant part of the population, the rest of the electorate is up for grabs. And not many people understand who is controlling the Tea Party movement, who is in it, and what they will do if they come to power. Significantly more Republicans than anyone else tell pollsters now that they are certain to vote in November. And although Democrats appreciably outnumber Republicans in the country, more people say they plan to vote for a Republican candidate than a Democrat. Combining the zeal of the Republican grass-roots with a slowly recovering economy, a less-than-popular president, and the sentiment that “Whoever‟s in/running Congress now should be thrown out on his ass,” I predict the Republicans will score a great victory in November[, 2010].
Unless. Unless the least authoritarian part of the American population out-organizes, out-hustles, out-reaches, out-recruits, out-communicates, and out-delivers the votes drummed up by the most authoritarian part. They did exactly that in 2008, and achieved unimagined victories. So it can be done, by patiently and sensibly explaining to moderate, independent, “middle” voters exactly who got us into this mess, and who has done nothing to get us out of it except constantly say “no”—like someone who stands on the hose when you‟re trying to put out a fire. And if the Tea Partiers succeed in getting more and more extremists running on the Republican ticket, that should open huge differences between the Democratic candidates and them. That can produce victory after victory—thanks to the Tea Partiers.
But alternately, the least authoritarian folks can find a dozen reasons to do little or nothing, and then the authoritarians will win.
Unless more non-participating, non-RWAs get out and participate, the election in 2014 will at least maintain RWA control.