The press often talks about the Tea Party like they’re secularist movement that is interested mainly in promoting “fiscal conservatism”, a vague notion that never actually seems to make good on the promise to save taxpayer money.
The reality is much different: The Tea Party is actually driven primarily by fundamentalist Christians whose penchant for magical thinking and belief that they’re being guided by divine forces makes it tough for them to see the real world as it is.
It’s not just that the rogue’s gallery of congress people who are pushing the hardest for hostage-taking as a negotiation tactic also happens to be a bench full of Bible thumpers.
Pew Research shows that people who align with the Tea Party are more likely to not only agree with the views of religious conservatives, but are likely to cite religious belief as their prime motivation for their political views.
White evangelicals are the religious group most likely to approve of the Tea Party.
Fundamentalist religion is extremely good at convincing its followers to be more afraid of imaginary threats than real ones, and to engage in downright magical thinking about the possibility that their own choices could work out very badly.