The left doesn’t seem to understand that political movements either grow or they die. We’re witnessing the evolution of the Tea Party movement from a group simply protesting high taxes: “Taxed Enough Already”, to one that covers a wide range of issues., national, state and local.
I have a Google Alert for the phrase, “American Tea Party Politics.” Everyday, there are several articles that claim that the Tea Party Movement is dead, dying or killing the Republican Party. I’m guessing that part of it is blatant propaganda but I think that part of it is simply ignorance about how political movements grow and evolve.
The left is either too ignorant to understand this or too unwilling to accept the fact that the Tea Parties are becoming a part of the Republican Party’s DNA and a permanent part of the American political landscape.
Throughout American history we have had political movements and organized parties that are based on a single issue. However, no party can survive on a single issue.
We have had the Native American Party that spread across the country under several different name, most prominently as the Know-Nothing Party. Started in 1843, it was absorbed by the Republican Party by the 1850s.The Free Soil Party was popular for a mere six years and then its members joined the Republican Party.
There was Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull-Moose or Progressive Party which only lasted from 1912 until 1916. Besides the Presidential ticket, they put forward numerous candidates at the state and local level.
The Dixiecrats or States’ Rights Democratic Party ran Strom Thurmond for President in 1948.They actually won four states in the Deep South and garnered 39 electoral votes.
In more recent times, we have Ross Perot who ran for the Presidency twice on the Reform Party ticket. In 1992, he probably gave the election to Bill Clinton by bleeding off 19% of the popular vote, mostly from George H.W. Bush.
The American political system is not kind to third parties. Unlike other countries, we don’t have proportional representation. Basically, it’s winner take all. Without the opportunity for representation in the government, third parties tend to wither and die.
We’re seeing the other alternative with the Tea Party Movement. Despite early claims that the movement was not a political party, it becomes a question of evolution or death. The Tea Party supporters have made a conscious decision to amalgamate with the Republican Party.
It’s not an absolute but the majority of Tea Party members will more than likely vote for Republican candidates. Quite simply, the Republican Party espouses the same principles and goals of the Tea Party movement.
In the Congressional elections of 2010, candidates supported by the Tea Party movement won dozens of seats in the House and the Senate. Of course, there were false starts in places like Delaware and Nevada but the vast number of Tea Party-supported candidates won and now sit in the Congress.
Let’s understand one important fact. Tea Party members are conservatives at heart. The Republican Party is the one place that they can have an impact on the direction of the country. Any thought of third party candidates will only allow the Democrats to stay in office and spend the taxpayer’s money.