HOW DOES THE TEA PARTY FIT IN TO THE REPUBLICAN PARTY'S SELF-ASSESSMENT, AND POTENTIAL RE-INVENTION, IN THE WAKE OF THE ELECTION? Many of the goals of Tea Party-linked elites can be achieved from the minority position. You will see some of that in the efforts to cut Social Security and Medicare for young people in the upcoming budget debates. But the Republican Party will have to broaden its coalition if it wants to win at a national level, and in more moderate states, in the next presidential election. It will be interesting to see how this happens. [Fox News personality] Sean Hannity has already "evolved" on immigration in the days since the election, supporting a path to citizenship. It will be fascinating to see if that becomes the new Fox News position, and if it gains traction with their viewers.

YOUR RESEARCH HAS DEMONSTRATED THAT TEA PARTYERS AREN'T OPPOSED TO GOVERNMENT BENEFITS, PER SE — THEY JUST DON'T BELIEVE IN PROGRAMS FOR THE "UNDESERVING." POLLING SUGGESTS THE MOVEMENT, WHICH SKEWS OLD, WANTS TO PROTECT MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY. COULD THE TEA PARTY BE AN UNLIKELY ALLY IN DEMOCRATIC EFFORTS TO PROTECT THOSE ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS IN ANY "GRAND BARGAIN" AIMED AT ADDRESSING THE NATION'S DEBT PROBLEM? The Ryan budget plan to slash these bedrock social programs grandfathers everyone over 55, so the benefits most Tea Partyers are using aren't at risk. That was a very careful calculation, I think.

Tea Partyers are suspicious of younger people, and in interviews, I never heard any commitment to preserving government programs for the next generation. It is not plausible to imagine Tea Party activists allying themselves with Democrats.

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