From the beginnings of the Tea Party, their influence in electoral politics was seen from its birth on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, to especially the 2010 election. Although it is not a formal political party, those who affiliate themselves with the movement, have seen two Republican Senators fail to even win their own party’s re-nomination. For an insurgent political movement, they have had tremendous influence on the direction of the Republican Party until the shutdown of the Federal Government and the last episode regarding the rise of the debt ceiling. Since the historic occurrence of the government shutdown, the Tea Party movement has seen its influence wane.
The 2014 political season has seen the failure of the Tea Party to make a dent in any of the contested senatorial primaries. The establishment candidates have been spectacularly successful. Wall Street has backed more moderate and pragmatic candidates with money. Follow the money is a good rule of thumb in tracing electoral success.
The lesson learned from what we have witnessed; don’t rock the boat of the oligarchs. If you challenge the very wealthy’s comfort zone, they will put the hammer down, and whatever success you may have had is over, done, finished.
The Tea Party movement is still strong in the House of Representatives, and we shall see in November how much influence and power will be retained. The party out of power, historically picks up seats in an off-year election. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.
Their success, has brought with it concerns as well. Governor Brownback of Kansas has aligned himself with the Tea Party. He has had quite a bit of success in passing very conservative legislation in his state of Kansas. With that success, residents of Kansas don’t seem to be enjoying the results of the legislation, Brownback has passed. His re-election bid for governor has seen poll numbers that are amazingly close in such a red state. Not only do elections have consequences but policies do as well.
Some talking heads would have you believe that there isn’t really much difference between establishment Republicans and the Tea Party Movement other than style and attitude. I beg to disagree! There is a distinctly libertarian belief system with those who are part of the so-called Tea Party. Instead of limited government, there actions in Washington have had an anti-government aspect. This is part of the principles of many libertarians, somehow believing that in an ideal world, man or woman for that matter, can be self-governing. They also seem to believe that anyone can be elected, not just the best and the brightest. The quality of the members of the House or should I say the lack of quality has to impact the public image of our government, and the confidence or lack of same that the public has in whether or not there concerns will be addressed in a respectful way by those who they have elected.
Establishment Republicans, in order to curry favor with the electorate, will mouth the right words, but since Ronald Reagan, their actions have disappointed today’s brand of conservatism. This is why, one hears from many in the media, whether it be Rush Limbaugh or the oracles of Fox news, the mantra that only a true conservative should be nominated for President. If only that would happen, abortions would disappear, illegal immigrants would never cross the border, and glaciers would quit melting.
Think again, oh naive ones. The fat cats don’t want their comfort level changed. There is other bad news out there in the land of Pennsylvania and Florida. The fall election season may very well see a rebuke by the voters of Republican governance in states that matter with large populations. Republican incumbent governors may have a hard time being re-elected.
With a strategy of attacking a women’s right to contraception and with public statements continually making rape an issue, Republicans may be digging themselves a hole they can’t get out of.
Then there is their refusal to have an immigration policy that does not seem like an insult to a good-sized element of the population. With their disregard for political reality, they are insuring themselves a minority political status in national elections for a long time to come.
But many members of the right-wing of the Republican Party don’t seem to care. They and their Tea Party followers seem to have a political death wish list.
It is a long-held belief that a political movement or a political party needs to be for something. To change the status quo, what is often needed in history to preserve what is good, rather than to destroy what is valuable. There have been historical movements in the past that have had their ideas become part of the agenda of one of the major political party’s. Have we seen any idea or proposal that has become part of the agenda of the Republican Party, that has come from the Tea Party Movement? If not history may record that the Tea Party was just a loud and vocal group of people who accomplished nothing other than being a protest group unhappy with the political state of affairs. Will the Presidential nominee of the Republican Party be the Tea Party’s last stand?
Political change can occur quickly if one is not careful to listen to the people and to at least do what is right and moral when circumstances beckon. President Hoover is a good example of a President who not only did not listen, he often refused to even look at bread lines and soup kitchens. He sent the army after the veterans seeking their bonus checks. Farmers were allowed to go under by the thousands. Texas went from being all Republican to all Democrat overnight, because the government failed to act.
In order for the Tea Party to survive they can re-constitute themselves and offer solutions instead of obstructionism. Will the Tea Party be a footnote in history like the Know-Nothing Party or will they take advantage of the genuine unhappiness that exists in our country today. The ball is in their court.