Richard Florida: What the Shutdown Revealed About the Economic Divides in U.S. Politics:
The geography of Tea Party conservatives is largely what you’d expect. Half are in the South, and a quarter are in the Midwest. Not a single one is in the Northeast or the along the Pacific coast. All voted for Romney over Obama…. Charlotta Mellander… looking at the share of a state’s congressional delegation that had signed the August letter to Boehner (and thereby made it into Lizza’s "suicide caucus") and key economic and demographic characteristics…. The percentage of suicide caucus districts was negatively correlated with wages (-.30), incomes (-.33) and college graduates (-.36)… less diverse--both in terms of immigrant and gay and lesbian shares of the populations… less urban… [more] uninsured…. The last map gets at the deep economic fissures underlying Tea Party politics. It’s a map of America’s centers of innovation…. The Tea Party gets it stronghold in places that have been left behind by the knowledge economy… "committed to a past that never quite existed and hopes for a future that seems rather unlikely."
Taken together, these maps illustrate the deep economic fault lines underlying America’s dysfunctional politics. The Tea Party represents the lagging sectors of the economy, and, increasingly, the politics of those left behind by America’s transition…. New America Foundation’s Michael Lind notes that the Tea Party is a new version of old southern elite, no longer content with their place in an increasingly fractured Republican coalition. The Tea Party, he writes, reflects "a coherent and rational strategy for maximizing the relative power of provincial white elites at a time when their numbers are in decline and history has turned against them." The Tea Party’s tirade is not some passing fad, but a political outgrowth of the winners and losers of America’s new economic landscape.