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April 28, 2015

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Tea Party ‘in disarray,’ losing ground with voters


Associated Press

This March 8, 2010, photo shows Tea Party member Greg Hernandez of Quicksburg, Va., wearing a tricorn hat and a teabag as he listens to speakers during a rally sponsored by Americans for Prosperity at the Capitol in Richmond, Va.

The Tea Party may have been built by the grass roots, but to survive, it’s going to have to rely on the Beltway political machines and big-money groups it once disparaged.

Tea Party activists always worked alongside like-minded conservative organizations, but they failed to capitalize on the anti-Obama momentum in 2009 and 2010 to build their own infrastructure and war chests. That means national groups like American Majority, the Club for Growth and the Koch brothers-linked Americans for Prosperity essentially are in the position to determine if GOP incumbents face serious primary challenges.

Potential prime Tea Party targets include GOP senators up for re-election in 2014: Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Conservative activists also would love to hit back at the 33 Republican senators and 85 representatives who voted to raise taxes on the wealthy as part of a deal to avert the “fiscal cliff.”

The Tea Party “is in disarray,” said Erick Erickson, editor of RedState, a blog that helped crystallize the fiscally conservative ethos of the populist movement. Going forward, Tea Partyers will “either be within the conservative movement as part of that movement or they won’t be effective.”

Polls have shown Americans turning away from the Tea Party: 24 percent of likely voters considered themselves Tea Party members in April 2010, according to a Rasmussen survey. Now, only 8 percent say they’re Tea Party members.

Many activists have moved on while others have turned their focus to local and state fights, or become absorbed into the Republican Party. Those who remain are as divided as ever about candidates and strategies. And they mostly lack the cash and the organization to mount serious primary challenges on their own.

“There’s not enough money, and I think the movement is a little split right now,” said Billy Simons, a member of the board of the Charleston (S.C.) Tea Party.

“The grass roots are a lot more cynical than they were in 2010,” said Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, a Georgia-based nonprofit that fashioned itself as an umbrella coalition of local Tea Party groups. “They only want to take actions that are going to have real impact, and not just something that is going to make noise for the sake of making noise.”

Tea Party activists may have “missed the moment” to build a more enduring structure that could help boost primary challenges to Republican congressional incumbents deemed insufficiently conservative on fiscal issues, said Ned Ryun, president of the grass-roots organizing outfit American Majority, which trained local activists and offered them grants and assistance in setting up their own groups.

The goal was to build a farm team of viable up-and-coming Tea Party candidates and a structure to support them, but many activists bristled because they believed their strength emanated from their organic and leaderless nature, and they distrusted anything that smacked of the Washington establishment.

“In some ways, one of the greatest strengths of the movement also became one of its greatest weaknesses because it kept them from doing the kinds of things that are necessary to build the infrastructure. It’s really a shame,” Ryun said.

“I don’t think we need some national group telling us what to do,” Simons said, citing the Tea Party Patriots as one example. “I think the Tea Party is much more effective when individuals are taking their own action. I question the motives of some of those groups; sometimes I think they’re more interested in themselves than in making a difference.”

At the same time, Simons and other activists admit that winning takes money.

“If an incumbent who’s not fiscally conservative is going to spend a million dollars, (a challenger has to) raise some reasonable percentage of those same numbers,” said Mark West, president of the Chattanooga (Tenn.) Tea Party. “If it’s going to come in from FreedomWorks, then so be it if they share our ideology.”

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  1. The Tea Party experience is an example of what happens when a populist movement attracts too many people with loud voices and unpopular ideas.

  2. I was apart of the Occupy movement here and in NO way was anyone that I observed was like RE FREEMAN wrote about. I can sat the "Tea Party Movement" had a hero in there eyes called John Wilkes Booth of Baltimore Maryland.

  3. We can always count on Re to change the subject if he does not like the topic. Must be one of Saul Alinsky's tactics.

    As Jim weber notes, the Tea Party suffered/suffers from the typical excesses of any populist political movement....the dedication needed to overthrow entrenched interests. Obama won twice by putting hundreds of thousands low level volunteers in door-to-door, phone banks, house parties, etc. to conduct one-on-one politicking. The Tea Party generated lots of smoke but little sustained fire. Members gave up way too easily when confronted with the elephant.

  4. Quacks, and the Quackery They Espouse...

    Sarah Palin. Rand Paul. Michelle Bachman. Jim Demint. Sharron Angle. Herman Cain. Christine O'Donnell. Todd Akin.




    It's been a REAL HOOT!

  5. The tea party may be in disarray and has lost its voice, but you can't deny that they have had a profound impact on national politics, particularly with government control and spending. While their solutions and tact may not be popular with everyone, you have to admit, they have identified a major problem that may take ultimately destroy our country. Hopefully some of their viable solutions will bring about fiscal responsibility by our politicians...

  6. Sure Politico, the Tea Party Movement is over.

    Sure Politico, the politics in our Country are all fixed now.

    Sure Politico, averting the latest "fiscal cliff" has solved the spending & taxing issue once and for all.

    Sure Politico, our economy is once again the envy of the world.

    Sure Politico, the education system is in place to ensure brighter and brighter citizens to solve our problems.

    Sure Politico, we are all on a path to more freedoms in our lives rather than less freedoms.

    Sure Politico, you are correct, since all the problems that caused the rise of the Tea Party are now better, the Tea Party will now implode as you suggest.

    Sure Politico, you left-wing yellow journalistic fish wrap, saying it over and over ad nauseum will make it so.

  7. The Greedy OLD Party TeaBAGS have caused great economic damage to our country for years to come. These hypocrites would fail at running a lemonade stand. TeaBAGS show NO fiscal responsibility. They take, take and take more. Weak, cowards, that think all solutions are simple, and easy. Good, balanced solutions to difficult problems are solved by hard work using intelligent people (leaves the TeaBAGS out).

  8. Enjoyed the article, but it's geared towards the national Tea Party.

    Perhaps they are being rejected now, but in Nevada, the Tea Party was emphatically rejected quite awhile ago.

    It all started when whiny screechy Sarah Palin stood on a stage outside Searchlight, Nevada along with a bunch of people in their RVs sitting on lawn chairs with ridiculous apparel and even more ridiculous rhetoric flying around. It was mentioned that IMMEDIATELY the press noticed that everyone in the audience was Caucasian and elderly. Nevada realized probably before the rest of America that the Tea Party was crap created by the Republican Party to try to re-brand their foul smelling mess of a political party.

    Subsequent efforts by the Tea Party to roll through here in their magic bus met with very few crowds to greet them. One time they showed up in an empty sand lot on Las Vegas Boulevard south of the airport. Bullhorns going, jumping up and down, screaming they want to take this country back...and nobody was there. Tourists drove by and laughed. They thought it was some kind of weird cutting edge Las Vegas entertainment. Not a political rally.

    For Nevadans, it was fortified in the elections of 2010 when the Republican Party, in their intense hatred of Senator Reid, ended up fielding a complete whacknut cat lady for a candidate to run against him (Sharron Angle). She got trounced. Because she was such a mentally challenged politician, she ended up spending more time running away from the news media than talking to them.

    The Tea Party, contrary to what other commenters above say, was 86'ed in Nevada quite awhile ago: Driven 80 miles out in the desert and buried six feet down. A complete failure of an idea.

    Nice try. Didn't work here. The voters rejected them before. And they will reject them again. And any candidate that starts even the slightests hint of Tea Party rhetoric, they have to know they will be toast.

    I'm just glad to see the rest of America is waking up to their garbage. Grassroots. Yeah. Right. Gimme a break. If they are grassroots, then grits ain't groceries, eggs ain't poultry, and Mona Lisa was a man.

  9. Didn't the Obama-noids say the same thing right before the 2010 election? Yea, I thought so. Same hope and change. Hopefully with the same results in 2014

  10. The only players in the game of politics now are the Republicans and Democrats, as usual.

    All the stuff about the Tea Party is a waste of time. They are Republican conservatives.

    The parties have conservatives, moderates and progressives in them, although weighted differently.

    The other potential parties in play could be the Greens, Libertarians and Modern Whigs. Their success depends on the voters.

    The Tea Party is not a Party in the sense of a political party. It is a historical title representing an event.

    If the so called Tea Party is given credit for the change in the Republican Party, it is because more moderate Republicans left as a result of the change in the Republican Party to the more conservative right.

    The question is where did they go? Retirement, for some. But that leaves a void for moderate to progressive Republicans. Where will they go? Perhaps the Modern Whigs?

    All I would like to see is our representatives being able to work on our behalf. At the moment, that is not the case.

    I don't think it is entirely the Tea Party's fault because they were voted in by voter's. Voter's need to be held accountable for what is taking place. It is a shared responsibility.

    That said, it is also notable that there is alot of big money organizations influencing the minds of voter's, manipulating them, appealing to self interest and creating division. So, they are culpable as well.

    It is not just in the US. It is a worldwide difficulty, whether money, movements, or religion. A very sad state of affairs. There is chaos and division in the voting public, and it is very destructive.

    It seems it is not only parties and voters that are responsible. I ask who is benefiting from all the global chaos? It seems so coordinated. Why?

  11. Those Obama-Noids spanked your guy Mitt Romney in 2012...

  12. independent here. i use to vote about 50/50 but the tea party has driven me away from the republicans. they are actually splitting the republican party making it easier for the dems to control things.

    when will they realize this?

  13. LOL "the Rules" might as well be forgotten as liberal/socialist process. It seems they were co-cpted long ago by the conservative movement, all the way back to the McCarthy era, followed by the John Birch Society, and many conservative groups that followed. In fact, they are about the only ones who write of them, yet fail to look into the mirror for an accurate reflection in themselves.

    Much of what is written here is nothing but regurgitated meme both old and new. Where does it all lead, except to more chaos and confusion, as well as heavy doses of fear to control people with?

    All individuals on all sides of the issues must seek to be honest with themselves and not just interested in pointing the finger and name calling. It solves nothing. However, this takes a good deal of analysis and integrity. That is often what is lacking in politics on any level, including opinions.

    We get so addicted to criticizing without any real personal analysis of the issues, on every level. It sounds as if we want easy, quick solutions for very complex problems with global implications. That condemns us to failure from our own ignorance.

    We desperately need a revival of the value of mature behavior and rational thinking arising from the very best of human traits and moral enlightenment. In other words, we need a miracle!

  14. The "useful idiots" are out in full force, basking in what they believe is the glory of the guy with the Cheshire Cats grin, empty rhetoric and empty promises reelection win. But, as I have seen over and over, things change in the blink of an eye and the mid-term election will show them for the greedy and grubby bunch they are. Without conscience or remorse, they steal the future from coming generations so they can ride on the gravy train today. I, like millions of others, still support the TEA Party and its goals. Unlike the parasitic class, we have a life to live, bills to pay, work to do, and cannot be active 24/7, but will pick the right time to put our collective shoulders to the wheel and work hard to oust the big government spenders from office and restore a modicum of fiscal sanity to Washington, DC, Carson City, Clark County and local governments. In the meantime, all of you "useful idiots," continue whistling past the graveyard.

  15. One day RefNV might realize that the doyenne of the radical right, Karl Rove, employed all of those tactics DECADES before Democrats ever did.

    GOP hypocrisy continues... full steam ahead, Ref!

  16. That was my accessment of the Searchlight Rally!

  17. Did you notice that the article referenced states mostly based in the South? Absolute crapholes like South Carolina and the like. I worked in all the states from SC through Lousyanna and Tejas. Yes, they have a lot of work, but the pollution there is nasty. Rotten places to live. If we let the tea baggers take control, we'll end up like China, with horrible pollution and poverty wages. Take your choice, America.

  18. As the unemployment rises in Clark county, and it will go back up, know that you have been played. The TEA Party movement has not gone away, it has morphed. You can blather about all the things you want about republicans. This progressive paradise is about to get a make over and we in the TEA PARTY movement are going to laugh. The Democrats and the progressives in the Nevada legislature are going to do it all by themselves. Your pay checks just got smaller. Your other taxes are getting ready to go up. Property, sales taxes, DMV taxes are all going up. Welfare participation will go up as well. This state has had to work hard to keep the unemployment up this high for this long. And the county commissars did their job well too and they all just got re-elected. There will not be new businesses coming to Nevada, no new jobs. Just more welfare and higher taxes to rob you blind, while the politicians you elected fleece you for your last dime.
    We tried to warn you, but you just think that if you wish it, it will be so. It will be fun watching you get the bill. I expect to hear howls all the way up to Mt.Charleston.