From the seminal “The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements“:
They who clamor loudest for freedom are often the ones least likely to be happy in a free society. The frustrated, oppressed by their shortcomings, blame their failure on existing restraints. Actually their innermost desire is for an end to the “free for all”. They want to eliminate free competition and the ruthless testing to which the individual is continually subjected to in a free society.
I find in this insight a clue to the nature of the Tea Party movement and the Republican fringe (which is now the Republican mainstream). Tea Partiers, by and large, are angry white people intimidated by the prospect of a post-racial, multi-cultural America where Christianity is no longer a dominant part of the American narrative. This is why you don’t find black, hispanic, American Indian, or any other non-white group represented in the Tea Party movement. Nor do you find people who practice a non-Christian religion. This part of the conservative movement has become a group of people who virulently condemn intellectualism and do not grant that intellectual or ideological competition in the public discourse is good or desirable.