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The Tea Party and American Populism Today: Between Protest, Patriotism and Paranoia

Michael Minkenberg



This article takes a closer look at the Tea Party by adding a transatlantic perspective. Its aim is to show that the Tea Party is a genuine right-wing movement with strong affinities to the Republican Party which revives particular American traditions of conservatism and the radical right. Its support base is not ‘the mainstream’ but a particular cross section of the white middle classes. In this, it is the American mirror image of many European parties and movements of the populist radical right which share the Tea Party’s anti-establishment message, its ultra-patriotism and ethnocentrism. It also shares some of its characteristics with the Christian Right with which it competes and cooperates when aiming at influencing the Republican Party and Washington while marking the merger of the Christian Right with Southern conservatism.

Keywords: Populism, American conservatism, radical right, Christian Right, Republican Party


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