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Method to madness in Tea Party Congressional hostage taking

Earl Ofari Hutchinson | 10/15/2013, 6 a.m.

The GOP is an insular party of Deep South and narrow Heartland rural, non-college-educated blue-collar whites. That’s not a demographic to be totally sneered at, because the numbers are still huge. But the number of voters who don’t fit that demographic is even bigger and fast growing.

In the past decade the number of black, Hispanic, Asian and Native American voters has leaped to nearly one quarter of the nation’s electorate. At the same time, blue-collar white voters shrunk from more than half of the nation’s voters to less than 40 percent. Obama handily won the Hispanic and Asian vote and crushed GOP presidential contenders John McCain and Romney with the black vote. Since then the number of potential non-white and youth voters has continued to climb and the white electorate has marginally dropped.

The GOP and its Tea Party shock troops in the House and Senate have fully read the political tea leaves and they know that the 2014 midterm elections shape up to be a titanic battle for the GOP to hold onto the House and to snatch the three seats needed to take control of the Senate. While the Tea Party is declining in overall numbers and support it still can make enough noise and in some districts turn out sufficient numbers to make a difference in close contests. That’s even more vital in swing districts with Democratic congresspersons that are on shaky ground with conservative voters. The Tea Party House Republicans bank that their debt ceiling raise and government shutdown ploys will pay a political dividend. There’s clear method in their madness.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst.