ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What Do We Do With the Tea Party?

Updated on May 26, 2014
The original Tea Party participants sought to influence politicians, not to become politicians.
The original Tea Party participants sought to influence politicians, not to become politicians.

The Next Step for the Tea Party?

A recent poll came out that says a Tea Party candidate would draw more votes than either a Republican or Democrat.  That sparked a spate of anti-third party rhetoric by badly frightened political pundits and party bosses. I read several articles and listened to a radio rant yesterday about the future of the Tea Parties. How much of each piece was passion and how much was "audience carving" by radio hosts and pundits that are running a distinct 4th or 5th place, I'm not sure. Sometimes I think the radio conservatives sniping at each other is less about principle than it is about ratings. Of all of them only Rush and Glenn seem not to do that. Even Hannity won't talk about Glenn Beck's work - probably because Glenn is poised to unseat him as #2 behind Rush. Rush isn't worried and mentions Beck and his work regularly, but then Rush seems to me more about principle than about ratings. Beck too. What we need now are leaders in the Tea Party movement who have the same attitude.  
At any rate, there is an argument coming to a boil in the conservative movement as to whether we should take the Tea Party to a formal third party.  Levin and Savage accuse Beck of trying to start a third party with himself at the head. I've never heard that from Beck, who seems mostly to hope to survive the debate alive more than anything else (and I don't blame him for being worried on that score). The thing boils down to two basic arguments.  

1.  We have a two party system - pick one! A third party is a waste of your vote.

2.  Both parties are corrupt and have failed us.  It may be time for something new. A third party can win!

So, let me muddy up the waters a bit with a third suggestion for what to do about the very powerful conservative forces that have martialed behind the Tea Party banner.  Admittedly this is a hybrid approach and would call for leadership that isn't in this thing to accumulate power.  My strategy would call for the Tea Party to lend its power to others without holding direct power itself. The leadership for this new "Party" would not take down the two party system, but would radically transform it without participating in the actual governance of the country.  Here's how it would work.

I believe that the Tea Party Movement should formally organize itself right down to the local level. It should elect local leaders. It should hold state and national conventions. It should raise money to support itself. The thing it should not do is run candidates for office.  I think we should model ourselves on the original Tea Party. Tea Party participants in Boston sought to influence politicians, not to be politicians themselves. 

So how would the Tea Party do that?  Here's my suggeston. I say we formalize the power of the independent voter by incorporating.  A formal Tea Party would pull together conservative Democrats and Republicans and independent voters into one body. It would seek out Republican or Democrat or, I suppose, even Libertarian candidates where that makes sense and endorse them.  It would actively endorse only those candidates whose integrity, ability and political philosophy matches our own. A formal Tea Party could bring a solid body of voters down on the side of good candidates.
So how does that help?

1. It formalizes the conservative block under a single banner and gives Tea Party members the power to influence elections in a very real way.  The Tea Party vote would be courted by politicians who want to win the election.
2. It allows Tea Party members to stay with the party they already belong to and to work within that party for reform and yet maintain their connection to a solid body of conservative American allies outside the party that cannot be bullied by Democrat or Republican party leaders.
3. It lets us influence the entire field of candidates without the need to "throw away" votes on candidates that can't win. The Independence Party in New York does something similar. I think we need a national version of that.
4. By not running candidates ourselves, we help avoid the "absolute power corrupts absolutely" problem. The mission of the Tea Party then becomes, not securing and holding power, but holding politicians accountable, no matter what party they belong to.  You want a Tea Party endorsement and contributions? Do the right thing.
5. It formalizes strategic planning for conservatives. It gives us a mechanism for applying "behavioral conditioning" to politicians.  Naughty men and women in Congress are remembered at election time. Tea Party endorsements allow real conservatives who have Tea Party support to take a run at their party primary with a real chance of winning.  I see Tea Party endorsement as a balancing force standing in opposition to the party leadership's manipulative ability - both parties!

Though Teddy Roosevelt had an unfortunate flirtation with Progressivism, he did have one thing right.  "Speak softly and carry a big stick!"  We need a big, big political stick.  A formal Tea Party that doesn't run candidates could do that. The party leaders will weep and wail and gnash teeth, but they will pay attention.

The question is, can we find enough citizen leaders to pull the party together who have no ambitions to hold power, take bribes and graft or wear the trappings of power.  The Tea Party could act as "sergeant-at-arms" for the American political system. If our politicians are naughty, we rap their knuckles and fire them.
I think it could work.

I'm just sayin'

Tom King - Flint, TX


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Tom King 

      7 years ago

      I understand why third parties happen, but they only serve a good purpose if they unseat one of the two big parties like the Republicans did to the Whig party in the first half of the 1800s. if Romney turns out to be another McCain, the stage will be set for the end of the Republican party I think and its replacement by something more conservative.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 

      7 years ago from Planet Earth

      I like the ideas you propose to mitigate any damage a splinter group can do. Third parties have been around for ages - I wrote a hub about the third-party movement, and the list of special-interest parties is huge. I wonder what the future holds!

      Voted up and interesting.

    • twayneking profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Puyallup, WA

      That's why I we should go the NRA/AARP route and play Kingmaker. Organize around a set of core principles. It's a lot easier to have influence that way. You can leave aside peripheral issues. The NRA doesn't get involved in social security issues and the AARP doesn't address gun rights. The Tea Party would focus on economic issues and liberating American business from the shackles of government interference.

    • tamarawilhite profile image

      Tamara Wilhite 

      7 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

      The Tea Party arose because the Republican establishment or elite is too focused on privileges for big business, to the detriment of small businesses and private individuals. The Tea Party arose because social conservatives were being shut out but still solicited for donations. The Tea Party arose because too many long time office holders voted with the Democrats too often, from expanding entitlements to open borders to more regulation. And the taxpayers, more often conservative, were expected to foot the bill today and tomorrow.

      As the joke goes, TEA party is short for "taxed enough already".


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)