- There have been two wars that have drained the national budget and weakened the military.
- The world is in financial turmoil, and the country has suffered considerable economic strife.
- A new party has emerged, comprised mostly of White Christians who scorn the liberal leaders and lament their loss of power and influence to minorities within the country.
- This party gains popularity among those who believe it speaks for the common man who wants change and is frustrated by the lack of such change.
- Worried about losing the votes of this splinter party, the major parties in power start to make concessions and give its leaders greater responsibility and power within the government.
Does this sound familiar? It's an overview of some of the conditions that led to the rise of the Nazi Party in post-WWII Germany. But it also sounds a lot like the rise of the Tea Party in the current US.
Of course, the situations are completely different; our government is much more stable and the Tea Party is a far cry from the Nazis. But things can change fast in this world, especially when the economy falters and people are angry. While Democrats are less likely to be swayed by Tea Party loyalists, I worry about the Republicans--people like Boehner and Romney, who formerly opposed the Tea Party but lately have begun to court its members.
The way the presidential primary system operates, an "outsider" candidate can gain momentum by winning primaries and caucuses in states where only 10-15% of the voters choose to vote. When such a small percentage votes, it tends to be disproportionately comprised of zealots. I ask that Republicans who don't want the Tea Party in control should make sure to vote, at every opportunity, for people who represent more traditional Republican values, and I hope that Republican leaders will resist the urge to kowtow to Tea Party voters. As history can show us, a great deal is at stake.