If we're going to move out of this morass of misdirection, it's going to happen because partisan people put down their boxing gloves and start to see what they have in common. Polly-Anne Progressive is going to have to try to understand why Sarah Palin is attractive to Ethyl Sixpack. It won't help Polly-Anne to keep complaining that Ethyl is a stupid, poor white trash, ignoramus redneck bigot. All that sort of commentary reinforces is Polly-Anne's feeling of superiority for not being Ethyl Sixpack.
Now, this constitutes an actual strategy. Do you see that? The author is saying, if we want to do something about this -- if rightward populism is as serious as we think it is -- then you have to do something about it. If we're going to move out of this morass, it will happen because of what people like you and me do about it.
Complaining about what you don't like in life is not a strategy for dealing with it. Whatever you want to say about social trends that you dislike, the only meaningful question, if you are a serious person, is what you intend to do about it. There are plenty of unserious people who complain their lives away. If you aspire to anything more than that, you think about how you can advance your concerns in any situation.
Needless to say, appealing to the state is not the first strategy we want to jump to when our problem resides with the working class. This is what the author means when he says the partisans have to knock it off. Partisanship is an appeal to the state: it means you want state force to advance your preferences, not theirs -- but in US politics this implies one part of the working class versus another. Is that clear? Democrats and Republicans means one part of the working class set against the other. It is a vertical alignment -- working people identifying with competing elite groups. And the whole point is that we don't want this if we can help it.
Now, maybe there are justifications for state force under certain circumstances. If vigilante groups in the Southwest US are beating or harassing Mexican immigrants, and there's no social organization to stop this, then you might need federal agents. Or if there's some genuine threat of fascism, and nobody's taken any of the above-mentioned steps to stop it, then there may be a justification for some cross-class alliance, between elements of the working class and whatever parts of corporate America aren't owned by Rupert Murdoch.
But the point is, you don't start at this solution. The solution to Tea Partying isn't to ensure that Democrats stay in power. Democrats aren't going to heal the wounds of the post-manufacturing communities when their political power flows from Wall Street. You can try to keep these people out of power, but unless you address their concerns, their numbers will grow. I hope this is clear. Unless you devise a way to address their concerns, all you are saying is, "don't let them run the country."
Last but not least, we should be building a class-based populism. Populism -- the idea that ordinary people can run their lives -- is a trend we should be supporting wherever it is. It's hard enough to get a group of poli-sci sophisticates together to accomplish anything; here you have ordinary Americans enthusiastic about participating in their own affairs, employing a language critical of "elites" -- this is stuff you don't often get in a saturated commercial environment. If you read Dick Armey's Tea Party Manifesto, it reads like an anarchist tract. It's obvious that Republicans of his stripe are jumping through some substantial hoops to hold the attention of disgruntled middle-Americans. What genuine anarchist organizers could do with this is something worth thinking about.