Flushing Township, Michigan is an early case study:

"Even communism looks good on paper," said Zimmerman, 55, who manages a chain of hardware stores. "Even though I agree with some of their ideals, there's no compromise when you're dealing with a revolutionary." Gardner, who founded a countywide tea party, said that was the point.

"That's where people in politics get a bad name, when they have their ideals, but they leave them at the door for compromise," he said. "I believe we need to hold to our ideals."

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