The Tea Party as a Faction?
In The Federalist, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison warned against the danger of factions. Factions, as they described them, are
A number of citizens whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.
The Federalists warned against factions, especially majority factions, because they feared that they would trample the rights of the minority. Also, at the time The Federalist was written, The United States had just earned its independence from Great Britain and had just formed its own Constitution. If a faction had emerged, it could have possibly ruined all that they had fought for. Nevertheless, factions were of great interest to the Federalists. But, how would they react to the current political climate, namely the Tea Party?
Whether the Tea Party can be called a faction we must first clarify. According to the modern interpretation of a faction, the Tea Party is indeed a faction. according to the definition given by the Federalists, the Tea Party is not exactly a faction. Nevertheless, let us assume that the Tea Party is a faction. Does this mean that we must control the effects of the Tea Party as the Federalists say we must? According to the Federalists, minority factions must be defeated by overpowering them through the ballot. This, I believe, is the best and most effective way to deal with the Tea Party. Now, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against the Tea Party movement. Tea Party members voice many legitimate concerns and they have a right to do so. But, I personally do not believe that they have earned the respect and trust of enough of the American people quite yet. One area in which they must improve considerably is their perceived racist attitudes. The Tea Party has a solid base, but what they must do now is develop a message that is more inclusive rather than exclusive. So, until the Tea Party makes some changes to their message, and demographics, they will continually be controlled, and will never become a legitimate political movement.