The Paranoid Style of Tea Party Politics
Joyce, Anthony Allen
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This thesis aims to examine the Tea Party movement from the context of Richard Hofstadter's writings on the paranoid style in American politics. The findings in this study suggest that the Tea Party is something of a paranoid movement, and it suggests that factors for individual paranoid political behavior within this movement are a result of Evangelical fundamentalism, the uses of social media and algorithmic targeting, anxiety towards outgroups, and the machinations of the modern media. An exploration of the origins of the Tea Party and its impacts on the American political system is conducted in order to define and observe the movement as a modern political phenomenon. This grassroots movement is to a large degree responsible for the Republican Party's continued move towards the far right, and it has caused infighting amongst Congressional Tea Partiers and moderate Republicans for influence within the party. These findings reinforce observations of Republican retrenchment and further leanings to the far right of the American political spectrum. This theory is of value since it offers an understanding of the political phenomena occurring within the Republican Party in the form of the Tea Party and allows the field of Political Science to examine and apply the effects of new forms of communication. Social media and the algorithms applied to individual online activity has grave impacts with regards to predicting political behavior and factors that contribute to the formation of an individual's political beliefs. Concluding theoretical assumptions depict the new forms of mass media as one key factor responsible for altering the way individuals consume and process information thus resulting in the continued rise of far right conservative ideology within the Tea Party.
- Masters Theses