Tea Party and the Right  
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Tea Partiers V. Millennials: Why the Far Right Disdains Young People, Even Their Own Kids

Sociologist Theda Skocpol explains what drives the angry right, and what to expect next from them.

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Another thing  you’ll hear from Democrats is that every past program like this has been controversial at the time, and then becomes popular to the point Republicans won’t even admit they want to get rid of it. Is there reason to expect the same here?

Yes. It’s going to be a tough battle because of the new levers the Supreme Court gave to the states to reduce the Medicaid expansion. There is a question in my mind as to whether a regional group around Texas will stay out permanently. But over the last month, while we’ve been having an Armageddon-like battle supposedly over Obamacare in Washington, several more Republican-led states have accepted the Medicaid expansion, or are on the verge of doing it. In the final analysis, this is about money for healthcare and states and localities as well can’t be denying care to people who get sick in this country.

Business interests and hospitals and doctors are grudgingly accepting this vast expansion of resources in their sector, and the disconnect in public opinion is so extreme. If you ask them about the particular provisions in the law, almost all of them are very popular, including with majorities of Republicans. So once this thing is actually carried through – and it’s obviously not going to be easy, and it’s not clear that the Obama Administration is entirely up to it – this law is here to stay. It’s not going anywhere. By 2016, it will not be reversible. And by about five years after that, people will be wondering what all the fuss was about.

You said the Right is more effective at building the kind of organizations that wield political leverage. What do you think explains that?

Partly, the Right in this country, over the last half century, has recognized that fighting across many localities and states is worth it. And they’ve developed mechanisms for doing that, and that turned out to have a big payoff in Congress. There’s also a whole series of reasons why older conservative voters, backed by ideologues, have this combination of apocalyptic moral certitude with organization that really gets results. Especially in obstruct things in American politics.

I don’t happen to think that the Left and the Center-Left could imitate this. For one thing, they don’t have the presence across as many states and districts. But it’s also not clear it’s a model worth imitating. I think the real problem that you’ve got right now on the Left is how to defeat this stuff, how to contain it, how to beat it – given the permeability of American political institutions to this kind of thing. And I don’t think it’s clear what’s going to happen.

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