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The country has never been more divided as Americans go to the polls on Tuesday. For months, Republicans and Democrats filled the airwaves on national radio and TV with angry accusations, outrageous claims and vicious campaign ads.

At the forefront of all this is an ultra-conservative movement known as the Tea Party.

It takes its name from the events of the historic Boston Tea Party. In 1773, American colonists dumped an entire cargo of tea aboard three British ships into the waters of Boston harbour to protest against a tea tax imposed by the British government on the colonies.

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The Tea Party is a loose affiliation of numerous local groups that believes in cutting the size of government, reducing taxes and curbing deficit spending.

But critics accuse their activists of promoting racism and bigotry through their rallies.

On Tuesday, we will be discussing those issues with Conservative commentator Max Pappas of FreedomWorks, an organisation that endorses the policies of the Tea Party. We will also have with us progressive blogger and author David Swanson of Democrats.com - an independent group that supports the Democratic Party.

This episode of Riz Khan aired from Tuesday, November 2, 2010.

Source: Al Jazeera