Sunday, September 20, 2015

Did Donald Trump Have a Rally or a Rowdy Tea Party?

By: Dianne Heath




The elections as a revolutionary Boston Tea Party?? You decide. Image Courtesy of the US Capitol via Flickr

   Speeches and rallies crackle with the concentrated, potent and passionate energy which pours from charismatic individuals who are invited to be the opening "performance" before the presidential candidate's speech. These individuals represent the groups and institutions who make up the candidate's cultural and ideological alliances or coalitions. These alliances and coalitions can be direct or indirect, informal or formal and official or unofficial, nevertheless they are unveiled before a mass audience to complement a presidential candidate's campaign. These opening performances can often connect with the people better because the opening performers are more entrenched within these cultural and ideological communities unlike the presidential candidates who can be a distant and unknown figurehead. These performances are meant to strike at the audience like lightening bolts setting ablaze inspiration that has the fiery power to ignite America.

     At mass political events during election seasons, the soundbites from the "performers" are like morsels seasoned with the new cultural regime and then disseminated from the stage to the audience to be consumed by their awakened senses. These morsels are digested and internalized by the emotional powerhouse, the heart, and then converted into the particular emotional energy needed for the presidential candidate. This simultaneous digestion of the morsels and the energy it provides to the intertwined political hearts will help to feed a new regime, a new national political culture which will fuel the new political machine. This consumption of the experience, fed by the alliances and coalitions, set the cultural parameters and strengthens the presidential candidate's ideological positions on key issues. Their presence is a rich illustration of what the presidential candidate unabashedly promotes and will fight to invest in once in office, by who he gives status to at his events.

Paging DC ...
    The Dallas Rally was like a rowdy, ceremonial tea party inducting Donald Trump into an official and tangible position as a powerful and vocal political and ideological outsider. His clown costume has been torn asunder to be exchanged for a new uniform, a revolutionary agenda. Now symbolically he can join the ranks of great men who are a part of a deep American historical tradition: an "outsider" whose truthful representation of the people demolished the status quo. After a heartfelt, shaken anthem, Katrina Pierson, a Steering Committee member for the Dallas Tea Party and Founder of the Garland Tea Party, sharply charged that the "Republican Party has failed its base!". Now I was taken off guard because I expected more attacks on the Democrats! The more the Tea Party polarizes the left from right, the more it solidifies the linkages within the far right and strengthens the conservative core's resolve. But then I realized that would had been too easy. We need electricity, a shock! In just one statement, she positioned Donald Trump as a double outsider ...as far removed from the White House as possible and almost as if he were in the audience himself ...a holy distance. This statement also allowed for greater intimacy...no need to deal with how disappointing the left is, this is assumed, it's time to focus on the mainstream right, the GOP.

    She commented on how the Republican Party profits from the authentic and grassroots fringe through their votes and their passionate dedication to allocating resources for their projects only to be abandoned as extremist in favor of the "popular think thanks." But now, she insinuated, the outsiders should back another outsider, the fringe will have to push into the national administration and grab official power to hold the mainstream accountable. Mainstream Republicans can no longer be trusted to represent the audience. She attempted to marginalize Donald Trump from the mainstream Republicans and commented he should tear up the loyalty pledge to them. She made a battle cry, "This is not a phenomenon. It is a revolution!" She ensured, that if Donald Trump won the presidency, it would be revolutionary, another historical movement resembling the Boston Tea Party that will even outsize Barack Obama's racially historic win. 


But a revolution for whom? 
     The revolution symbolically marched in with a baby blue dress armed with a bullet point of conservative identities. The same identities who are routinely mocked and who conservative political and ideological outsiders, like the Tea Parties, feel are marginalized by the elite liberal media. Scottie Nell Hughes, the News Director for the Tea Party News Network, called out each outsider political and cultural identity (God Fearing, Gun Toting, Baby Loving, Benghazi Truth Seeking, Army Wife Loving, Border Fence Building, Common Core Fighting, One Nation Under God Pledging Mom) and conscripted their emotions into the election battle. Her proud representation of these constellation of conservative identities was like a rescue mission, breaking their chains from mainstream politics by enriching them with status. These valued social identities will collectively, once uncensored, transform from being the silent majority and boldly usher in a new culture. Her pride challenges what is means to be extreme. She insinuated this is not extremism, but the truth. Sadly in the mainstream media, the people's truth are dismissed as extreme. However, according to her, these identities and grassroots political groups are more poised for legitimate rule than the think tanks and they will decided what is truly wrong with America. Katrina Pierson had previously outlined what was "really, really bad," and explained the dire situation America is in, "Iran has a weapon and we know what they are going to do with it. We are in Texas and our borders are being invaded. We have a government that spends relentlessly and our economy is on fumes." 

So what is exactly the revolutionary agenda? 
    According to Scottie Nell Hughes, the revolutionary agenda is to "make America great again" by "representing the people to the government, not the government to the people." But how? Katrina Pierson enumerated on how Donald Trump "knows how to run a business, that know that we have to get back to the rule of law and handle illegal immigration and to bring back what we've lost and all witnessed recently, we have to restore the Judeo-Christian foundation of this nation." Wait back up .... restore the Judeo-Christian foundation of this nation? There it is! The new national political and cultural regime will be founded on re-establishing the rule of the Judeo-Christian identity. From that, a war like mentality (due to the framing of the invaded borders like we're Romans under siege from the barbarians) and anemic social support from the government as Scottie Nell Hughes screams "hard work equals good life." This culture will be represented overseas since Donald Trump was deemed the ideal leader who will not bow down to world leaders whose countries kill Christians ...a valued, cornerstone identity for this new culture. 

     Donald Trump approves the Christian identity being the guiding force for politics and policies as he invited Pastor Jeffers to the stage and openly thanked him for support. These identities can make America great again ..without the need of successful people paying "one three of their hard working dollars to the federal government". The activation of the silent majority will make America great again, not sleek government policy. This is identity politics supercharged! To get people energized to vote, Donald Trump is being characterized and celebrated as a political incorrect, tough man who can champion these identities. Once in office they won't have to undergo a disappointing identity crisis but can remain untainted, intact and undiluted by the mainstream. By not having to be represented by a mainstream GOP presidential candidate, they can maintain their unsoiled and uncorrupted outsider identities and usurp the White House through Donald Trump from the outside in. Even more Donald Trump is a winner, so the outsiders don't have to suffer as a perpetual losers.


Will the Outsiders be Disappointed?
     To be fair, neither of the women mentioned their affiliations with the Tea Party, in fact Katrina Pierson focused on her identity as a mother and announced she was not representing a group. However they did declare overt Tea Party sentiments and they support Tea Party identities. Now will Donald Trump actually be a strong Tea Party candidate and stamp their ideology, by verbatim, into his policy? I doubt, nor is the Tea Party necessarily requesting this. This was mostly about consolidating the ideological outsiders and confirming that he is not a social climbing outsider grasping to be embraced by the mainstream. Once again he is proving that he doesn't need the mainstream unlike other politicians because he is a winner without them; he has his own prestige and money from business. His social status and resources are from business so he can afford to be a powerful political outsider.

Left with More Questions
    I'm interested in how Donald Trump will broaden or narrow his definition of political and ideological outsiders. Will he support all these outsiders to broaden his possible electorate and if this happens will these outsiders collide and clash or feel betrayed. How will Donald Trump balance this and will people who are officially a part of a political group be willing to continue to hide their direct affiliations and only advertise their sentiments? Can all these outsiders be represented by one person and will the balancing act dilute his appeal? This will definitely be interesting!


related entries:
Presidential Election Seasons and Political Culture ....Don't Let Apathy Cause You to Tune Out!

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