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The Tea Party and Individualism

Originally @ Stanford Review

Though the elections are now over, we are still at a transition point for politics in the United States. A cultural change in the way candidates run for office has been chipping away at the foundations of our elections process and reshaping how Americans view government. Interestingly enough, this progressive paradigm shift has come from the Tea Party.

The Tea Party is not widely viewed as a ‘progressive’ movement in American politics. Labels, ranging from the descriptive to the pejorative, have tagged Tea Partiers as grassroots conservatives or as backwards and regressive. Yet there is a definite change evident in the model of candidate that this demographic supports, and the ways in which they campaign.

Thomas Friedman, in his book The World Is Flat, wrote that the 19th century was the century of the nation-state and the 20th that of the corporation, but that the 21st is now the century of the individual. With the advent of celebrities born on YouTube an…