Is The Tea Party Dead, or Just Dying?
2006-2012 sounds like a short life span....
Both major parties have worked effectively so far to eliminate any new contenders!
The Bull Moose Party, the United We Stand Party, and now The Tea Party---all just an expression of their times, movements that tried to become and remain political parties.
Typically they had a prominent figurehead, a Teddy Roosevelt, a Ross Perot, or a Sarah Palin, and when (and if) the figurehead abandoned the movement, the expression of their times was abandoned.
The latest of these three movements, The Tea Party, has seemingly morphed into being local groups around the USA devoting themselves to local causes and candidates that express the original Tea Party causes of less government, lower taxes, and strict constitutionality.
That the local groups have not coalesced into a more powerful national organization, but have seemingly declined and almost withdrawn from the national stage, is due to a variety of factors, not the least of which is an effort by both major parties to discredit the original movement, and the relative success the two parties have had in doing so.
The other major factor has been that the "less government" and "lower taxes" have been traditional Republican values, and most Tea Party adherents and proponents have been, or looked like, Republicans who lacked a real platform to make them distinguishable from that major party.
A congressional Tea Party Caucus appears to have been too small in numbers to have had a decisive clout in doing anything more than lending its weight to blocking legislation it disagreed with, and thus had few accomplishments to recommend itself as an alternative party, if it ever had any real aspirations to be one.
The Supreme Court ruling which has caused Super Political Action Committees (Super PACs) to flourish, opened the way for The Tea Party to have voices at the national level, as long as any Super PAC was adequately funded and effectively voiced their movement's message. In the 2012 campaigns a few Super PACs have appeared to do so.
Today it appears that local Tea Party groups have declined in number to less than the number of such groups which a leading Washington, DC newspaper queried in 2010 as to who best represented their values at that time. The results were that the largest response said that no individual did, and the other numbers were scattered among the relatively few local and national figures most prominently associated in the public's mind with the original movement's expressed values including testing every new proposal and law as to its constitutionality. Among those national figures were these individuals in order of Tea Party popularity at that time: Sarah Palin ,Glenn Beck ,Jim DeMint, Ron Paul, and Michele Bachmann.
As Ron Paul was a prominent presidential candidate throughout the Republican primaries (and Michele Bachmann also early on), a dispute arose at the Republicans' 2012 national convention over the role Ron Paul's supporters seemed to be denied. They lacked enough influence to prevail and gain a more prominent party role, leading to deep resentment in their ranks while going on to grudgingly support the national Romney/Ryan ticket in which Romney's selection of Ryan was a mollifying influence on the Ron Paul supporters.
Is The Tea Party moribund? It may take a little longer to die, but its remaining spark could still be fanned into flame again, if given the right political events similar to what caused it to express itself in the past. Like The John Birch Society, The Tea Party is certainly less visible than in its past.
Copyright 2012 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.
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To the extent that the Election 2012 campaigns have better informed the American people, now is not the time to simply end participatory democracy because some voted. Stick to the issues which concern you, and keep making your voice heard.
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"All's fair in love, and war," but does love of elective office make everything fair, even if it runs counter to one's religious commandments? Let's see what we can gather from Election 2012 to think about in this regard.
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