Think about exotic teas. We would call a market dedicated to those specific types of tea a niche market. A niche market is specialized, whether it is teas or sports or what have you. A niche market has a specific demographic that it targets. The word niche itself identifies a person who has found something for which they are best suited, as in, oh, I don’t know…maybe something like this: “Hey mom, I found my niche: destroying America!”
Most of us would say it is oxymoronic to say you’re living the American dream if by dream you mean a dream to destroy America. But they, who said the tea party had to make sense? That hasn’t happened in three years so don’t start hoping now.
Speaking of the tea party…who wants a tea party? Fewer and fewer people, as it turns out. According to Pew Research this week, unfavorable views of the tea party have nearly doubled since its inception in 2010 as a means of big, regulation-hating corporations to dupe simple-minded Americans into thinking we don’t need no damn government.
Pew says that “Overall, nearly half of the public (49%) has an unfavorable opinion of the Tea Party, while 30% have a favorable opinion.” If that seems a mild rebuke to you, consider the damage done to its own brand by the tea party since June, “when 37% viewed it favorably and 45% had an unfavorable opinion.” Yes, the American public can wake up to facts, if slowly at times.
Remember, this belated epiphany is despite millions and millions of dollars spent by the Koch brothers and corporations – and an entire network – to sell the lie that the tea party supports people instead of corporations. This shift is across party lines and it is quite miraculous when you think about it. Best of all, it demonstrates that there are limitations to well-funded corporate shill-dom.
And speaking of shills…
The only people who seem to want Texas Senator Ted Cruz (outside of Texans – I said niche, remember?) in the wake of his failed coup are those dwindling few who identify themselves as members of the tea party (look, even Hitler had fanatical followers as Berlin crumbled around him). So if the tea party is a niche market in American politics – a market focused on hate-fueled anarchy – what does that make Ted Cruz? A niche within a niche.
If the tea party is falling out of favor generally, it is falling out of favor specifically too, among Republicans. According to Pew, “The Tea Party’s favorability rating has fallen across most groups since June, but the decline has been particularly dramatic among moderate and liberal Republicans. In the current survey, just 27% of moderate and liberal Republicans have a favorable impression of the Tea Party, down from 46% in June.”
“By contrast,” Pew tells us, “Sen. Ted Cruz’s popularity has soared among Tea Party Republicans while declining among non-Tea Party Republicans. Since July, as Cruz’s visibility has increased, his favorable rating among Tea Party Republicans has risen by 27 points – from 47% to 74%.”
What can you say? Haters gonna hate.
But since July, “Unfavorable opinions of Cruz among non-Tea Party Republicans have risen 15 points.” As goes the tea party, so goes Cruz: moderate or liberal Republicans lead the charge with only 27 percent of them retaining a favorable view of the tea party, a full 19 points lower than June’s numbers. But fewer conservative Republicans are feeling the love now too, with their favorable ratings dropping from 74 percent in June to just 65 percent now.
Cruz and the tea party are feeling the heat from what they call “establishment Republicans” and Pew tells us that “Unfavorable opinions of Cruz among non-Tea Party Republicans have risen 15 points since then, while favorable views are unchanged.”
Now we can argue all day long whether the tea party is an actual party or not or whether it is a part of the Republican party or not. Tea partiers seem to think they’re Republicans – they run as Republicans in local, state, and national elections after all, and they call non-tea partiers in their own party “establishment Republicans” as opposed to just “Republicans” – though you can’t blame Republicans now for wanting to disown these parasites.
The fact is, the tea party is a Republican phenomenon and it’s a little late to want to disown it now:
Ted Cruz says he is doing what Americans want him to do. Clearly, he is not even doing what Republicans want him to do, let alone all or even a majority of Americans. Among Republicans, 39 percent now say their party leadership has not compromised enough and only 21 percent say they have compromised too much, while these numbers are more than reversed (50 and 14) among tea party Republicans.
You can see the disconnect. You can see the niche occupied by the Cuban anarchist. Hell, even Morning Joe has turned on him.
Speaking of Cuba, hell, more than a few of us would like to see him return to Cuba. He can stop in Canada on his way back or not. That’s up to Canada.
Cruz has, like Miley Cyrus, made himself a name through a series of self-aggrandizing actions, but there is a difference: Miley Cyrus hasn’t plotted to destroy the federal government or lead a House coup against the executive branch. Also, Miley Cyrus has made herself #1 while Cruz…well, not so much. Despite all his posturing, only 9 percent of Republican respondents named Cruz as leader of the Republican party. And no, that doesn’t bode well for 2016.
What is perhaps most shocking about the Cruz Niche is that even after all we have been through so that the Cuban anarchist could make a name for himself, “most Republicans (54%) say either that they don’t know who the leader of the party is (39%) or that no one leads the GOP (15%).”
I mean, what’s up with that? Cruz says he is the victim in all this but he’s not even feeling all the love from his fellow anarchists, with “Nearly three-in-ten Tea Party Republicans (28%) say[ing] Boehner is the leader of the party; Cruz ranks second among this group at 18%.”
Ted Cruz is not satisfied with where he stands now and he intends to go forward with another coup attempt in February. He seems to think he is positioning himself for 2016 and in a way, he is. He is positioning himself to be even less popular than Sarah Palin, and positioning himself to take a seat right along beside her on Fox News when his term is over.
Assuming he does decide to run in 2016, he will no doubt do great in Iowa because, like I said, haters gonna hate, but Iowa isn’t America. Iowa is a niche market. And America will never elect a niche of a niche.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.