Back in the 1970s, we heard a lot about the “silent majority.” That was a slogan used by the Nixon administration to claim that most people backed them, although they weren’t vocal.
This week we have seen an attempt to quantify the Tea Party in America. Just how many people belong to this movement? Are they a vocal minority or are they in the majority?
Their numbers were estimated at a half-million people nationally in a report that came out this week, on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, showing that they are a vocal minority. The report by the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights (www.irehr.org/) stated that while membership declined somewhat after the government shutdown, it still remains strong. As a percentage, Tea Party membership is about .16 percent, smaller than 1 percent of the U.S. population of 317.4 million.
The report has ranked Kansas 23rd among all the states in Tea Party membership.
The rank as 23rd was based on the number of Tea Party members in Kansas, membership as a percentage of the state population, and the number of active local affiliated Tea Party group, the organization stated in a news release.
Kansas had 4,772 Tea Party members, it stated. There were 13 active local affiliated Tea Party groups.
According to information on the group’s website, there were 154 Tea Party members in Kansas City, Kan. Bonner Springs had 20 Tea Party members. Edwardsville had 1 member.
Nearby, Olathe had 268 Tea Party members, and Overland Park had 369 Tea Party members. Not too surprisingly, numbers were higher in Wichita than the rest of the state, at 655 members.
The IREHR report stated that while there has been a decline, the Tea Party movement is still very much alive, and there are real people involved in it, contrary to some previous political beliefs.
Most, about two-thirds, of the members are men, and the movement has 42 percent of its membership in the South, according to the report. Tea Party members often express dissatisfaction with the president, and this study quotes another study that found race and racism were significant factors in the Tea Party movement.
This extensive report is well worth reading, and is online at https://www.irehr.org/issue-areas/tea-party-nationalism/tea-party-news-and-analysis/item/527-status-of-tea-party-by-the-numbers.
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