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The Tea Party Movement in The United States: Democracy in Action or Democracy in Disarray

Robert E. Gilbert

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The Tea Party Movement is a relatively recent and quite significant phenomenon in American politics. It is committed to smaller government, decentralized government and lower government expenditures. It strives to force the Republican Party to be staunchly conservative by challenging more moderate Republicans in primary elections. The group is particularly hostile toward President Obama and for some of its members, racism seems a likely cause. Despite their professed veneration of the Constitution’s Framers, some Tea Party spokespersons seem unfamiliar with the Framers’ intentions and even with some aspects of the Constitution itself. The Founding Fathers struck many compromises at the Constitutional Convention and explicitly included the “necessary and proper” clause – which has occasionally resulted in an expansion of the national government’s powers ‒ in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. Tea Partiers, on the other hand, are loath to compromise and insist erroneously that only explicitly granted powers may be exercised by the President and Congress. Therefore, they have contributed to governmental gridlock and to political acrimony.

Keywords: Tea Party, electoral politics, Barack Obama, Framers’ intentions, Constitutional confusion, original intent, necessary and proper clause


Bibliography: Gilbert, Robert E.: The Tea Party Movement in The United States: Democracy in Action or Democracy in Disarray, PCS, 1-2-2015, pp. 107-126.