In the 1960s the Democratic Party became the Republican Party in the South. The change happened almost instantaneously after passage of the Civil Rights Act. In less than a decade, the former slave states and their neighbors went from solid Democratic to solid Republican.
Just as the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act gave an impetus to a political metamorphous that lurked beneath the surface for decades, the Affordable Care Act has given that same impetus to Republicans to morph into the Tea Party. Why? Because Republicans named it Obamacare.
The Tea Party is just a new name for a previously unorganized group of Americans who have one or more of several things in common. In the South, they are the scions of the KKK and avid segregationists who left the Democratic Party over Civil Rights in general, not just federal legislation. They are conservative and fundamental Evangelical Christians 90% of whom are white. They are the former Goldwater Republicans who never saw a reason to moderate. They are former John Birchers and followers of Joe McCarthy.
The Republican Party flirted with the far-right party in 1964 when it nominated Goldwater. The beating they took at the polls ended that romance. In 1968 the nation was divided over civil rights, the war in Vietnam, integration, affirmative action, the Great Society, and other issues. Richard Nixon saw an opening for him to rise to power by exploiting all the anger and fear in society particularly in the South and among Evangelical Christians everywhere.
Nixon fanned the flames of fear by making the case that the minority was somehow gaining advantage at the expense of the silent majority. He developed the southern strategy to fan the flames of racial fear and hatred into a political movement switching the South to Republican.
Ronald Reagan seeing Nixon’s success rose to power by putting class and racial “competition” on steroids--pitting Evangelicals against any non-believer of Reagan’s message. The GOP was now southern, white, Christian, and moving towards the right.
Reagan, like Goldwater before him, could not win a primary in today’s Republican Party. What Goldwater, Nixon, and Reagan started got out of control like most movements often do.
Many Americans, particularly in the south and rural areas dominated by Evangelical Christianity, feels that their country has been taken over by minorities, non-Christians, and gays. Many Americans believe their hard-earned money is going to minorities, illegal immigrants, gays, welfare queens, and communists. They are both fearful and angry and feel the Republicans they automatically elected have not been fighting hard enough to stop it.
Then Barack Obama got elected. It was time for a revolution to take the [white] country back.
Just as Nixon and Reagan capitalized on white anger to trust themselves into power, billionaires who are angry about air and water pollution rules, safety regulations, unions, and social programs saw an opening. They would throw money—huge amounts of money-- to any right-wing group who would fight. The Tea Party was born with a silver spoon of billionaire money in its mouth aided by a former Reaganite-- Chief Justice John Roberts.
In 2010 more Republicans won election to Congress and state legislatures than any time since the Reconstruction. They weren’t your father’s Republicans. They were right wing fanaticals on a mission joined together under the Tea Party label. The quickly used that power to reapportion Congressional and state legislative seats to guarantee Republicans majorities for decades to come.
With Democrats now unable to win a majority in Congress or state legislatures due to gerrymandering, the Tea Party—a minority within the Republican Party—systematically began their Putsch. Any Republican that dared compromise with Obama or Democrats would be purged through a well financed primary. Fear and loathing overtook moderate Republicans as they saw renowned Republican veterans bite the dust. No Republican who wanted his or her job and the perks, prestige, and power that comes with it, would dare risk being “primaried.”
In two short years-- spurred on by the fear and anger over the re-election of President Obama, the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the Senate’s passage of Immigration Reform, and the demise of DOMA--the Tea Party became the Republican Party. They did this like the minority Nazi Party took over the government of Germany-- without firing a shot. A determined and well financed minority has taken over the GOP and now, the government. Ted Cruz is the head of state, Glenn Beck is minister of communication.