It is October 2010 and another election is in its final weeks. By all indications, the 2010 election is yet another one of many that seems to be screaming out that elections and the democracy these elections support are in a sorry state of health in the United States.
The Tea Party Movement, propelled by a nebulous anger and egged on by Fox News celebrity Glenn Beck and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin (and funded by large contributions from wealthy individuals and corporations1), has seized an outsized role in the political discourse, though not for its political ideals (which have not been clearly articulated because of the decentralized nature of the movement). Thanks to its unexpressed ideology and the media’s penchant for focusing in on outrageous characters, the Tea Party’s time in the spotlight during the run-up to the 2010 election has not involved a consideration of the movement’s ideas, but attention has instead been focused on its members’ indiscriminate anger and a parade of its seemingly wackiest members. These included a Delaware Senate candidate who grabbed national attention for, among other things, her public statements about