How much does the Tea Party influence who wins?

I have a message, a message from the Tea Party,” said Rand Paul, a political candidate who made headlines across the United States this week. “We have come to take our government back.”

The Tea Party isn’t really a “party,” in the conventional sense.  They describe themselves as a loose movement of activists who draw their inspiration from the Boston Tea Party — an 18th-century anti-taxation uprising that helped spark the American War of Independence.

Today’s Tea Party wants lower taxes and less government spending, policies it says the Republican Party has promised but not delivered.  So now the Tea Party is supporting candidates who are officially running for office as Republicans, in hope they can change the party from the inside. This week Paul became the most prominent yet to win a Republican nomination, running for the U.S. Senate and sharing credit for his win with the Tea Party.

Paul wasn’t the only anti-establishment candidate to do well this week. Americans nationwide are angry at their elected leaders and several states had a chance to choose both Republican and Democratic nominees for elected office. There were setbacks for well-known candidates in both parties.

It was an anti-incumbency vote across the nation,” said Bill Richardson, a Democratic Party governor. “If you ran against Washington, you did well.”

With President Obama in the White House and his supporters in control of Congress, the Democrats are currently America’s governing party. The Tea Party is unhappy with the government so the conflict with the Democrats is clear.

But Republicans aren’t entirely sure where they stand. Some have embraced the newcomers, while others have politely pushed them away. The party’s leaders refused to support Paul, at least in part because he doesn’t really support them.

Can the Tea Party take hold among Republicans?  Will their chosen candidates win against Republicans and Democrats?  Will the winners come from among candidates who run against Washington with or without support from the Tea Party?  Are the extremes making most of the noise but the moderates will make the most difference?


Filed under Elections, Political Reform, Tea Party Movement

20 responses to “How much does the Tea Party influence who wins?

  1. I believe that the influence depends on demographics. It probably holds influence in areas of the country that Palin would call ‘real Americans’ (that is Americans who agree with her values).
    Other areas, it probably just widens the divide in our fractured country.
    Funny thing, when they had a ‘rally’ here in Parsons, most of the people were not from Parsons!

  2. So the Tea Baggers make the red states more red? Well that’s likely to get more members of Congress elected but wouldn’t have any effect on a presidential race. Even if every voter in every red state voted for the Tea Parties choice they wouldn’t increase that states electoral votes. We know all six Kansas electoral votes are going to the Republican every presidential election, and it doesn’t matter if Mickey Mouse is the candidate with the “R” beside his name.

    • wicked

      Actually, fnord, the Tea Baggers make red states kind of puke green.

      Give it time. There will be people who voted for those Rand-like newbies who will be saying they never liked him or her and didn’t vote for him or her. Kinda like they do now with Dubya. They are not and never have been the party of responsibility, no matter what they call themselves. And that includes the politicians and the people who vote for them.

  3. My opinion hasn’t changed since they first began their pouting, screaming, angry gatherings. They’re sore losers. They’re also the party of old white men who want to take our country back — to around 1700 or so.

  4. wicked

    The Tea Party is small but loud and definitely not cohesive, except to not vote for incumbents. While that ‘not voting for incumbents’ is okay with me and something we should all look at closely, they aren’t looking at all. They rarely listen to those they’re ranting and voting for and, in the end, will more than likely regret each and every vote.

    Sekan, look more closely. They’re not only facturing the country, they’re fracturing their party even more. If it’s true that the winning Democrat in the Kentucky primary got more votes than winner Rand, that could make a major difference in the future. Or not. It depends on how stubborn these Southerners are.

  5. tosmarttobegop

    The main impact will simply be their votes, either for one candidate or against another.

    For the most part it will mean that the establishment candidate will not get enough votes.

    And will impact the primary more then the general but all this is pretty much already said.

    I think that with time the Tea party will fade into a group that does not died just it nothing more then a news bite.

    • Even if their ‘movement’ doesn’t die many of their members will — they’re not spring chickens.

      • wicked

        Good point, fnord!!

        (Was that oxygen line a big hint? LOL)

        And just where do they get all the money for all the cute costumes? I’d like to see them wearing them all the time. The Log Cabin Republicans can dress as the fops and dandies did. It’ll be very colorful!

        Seriously, I have a tri-cornered hat from one of the Paul Revere and the Raiders concerts I went to at the Cotillion. I’m tempted to find out when the next tea party is, hang some teabags from it (green, white, black and orange tea) and party it up. At least I fit the demographics. I think.

  6. wicked


    Okay, so that’s the Tea Party and other Republicans’ cry. I understand that and often agree. But you can’t scream “less government” then in the next breath scream that the government has to do something about the BP oil ‘spill’. And then if that’s actually done, they’ll scream that their money (in taxes) is paying for it.

    It would be extremely helpful to all if they would put their brains in gear before engaging their mouths.

    • Don’t ever confuse “less government” with spending on military and businesses! That’s wise spending even in amounts that are obscene.

      And, never confuse “less government” with the governments right to tell women what they get to decide about their bodies, or who may marry.

      Plus! Always remember we’re a Christian nation and we should probably spend lots of money to build monuments expressing that! (Let’s ignore that mention of idols in our Book, OK?)

  7. That fractured part is what will be their undoing, I think. Yes, they’ll vote against what they perceive as the establishment candidates in unison up to the point that they figure out some of the upstarts don’t _______ (fill in the blank with the voters biggest concern). Then we’ll be right back to where we were and the candidates views on the issues will be taken into account.

    There are several factions among the sore losers — some are of the Libertarian slant, others still hold abortion as their highest motivator, many are sure giving money to corporations and the military isn’t spending, or not BAD spending anyway, then there are those who worship at the alter of tax breaks. Don’t confuse their perceptions with actual facts about tax rates being lower now, abortions fewer, regulations necessary because just trusting they’ll do the right thing on their own doesn’t happen and is proven if you just take off your binders.

  8. WSClark

    Tea Baggers remind me of the Cons at the other place. Now that Democrats hold both Houses of Congress and the Presidency, they suddenly got “TRUE RELIGION” and they are all about fiscal responsibility, small government and reducing spending.

    Where were these people between 2001 and 2009?

    If you mention the facts of the Bush years, they all claim to have been against the Bush government or they accuse you of “looking at the past” yada, yada, “two wrongs don’t make a right” etc..

    The most ridiculous statement I hear from the Tea Bag set is that George W Bush was a liberal!


    • wicked

      They always have excuses, just like a bunch of kids.

      WS, what I’m seeing in reply to the liberals when it’s pointed out that the fiscal mess can be attributed to Bush’s reign is the same. One good response to the cons and tea partiers when they whine that the libs shouldn’t point to the past is that the cons blamed Clinton for everything during his two terms, them continued to blame him during Bush’s two terms. At some point, they need to step up and accept responsibility for the harm they did.

  9. David B

    A lot of power and influence in Washington comes with longevity in office. If the Rs replace old-timers with noobies.. they will lose positions on committees …

    • WSClark

      That’s why, in the Sixties, long “serving” Southern Democrats didn’t flip Republican after passage of Voting and Civil Rights Acts – they would have lost their Chairmanship positions.

    • wicked

      Why is it that most think the angry voter is a republican?

    • My guess is because they are the ones showing their anger publicly at the Palin rallies. Those who are properly directing any anger or disappointment may be calling or writing their reps, closely following the candidates and issues, working on campaigns, contributing money, working on get out the vote initiatives…

  10. “…But what Republicans may have lost sight of is that they are hardly dealing from a position of strength. What they forgot is that they are a party with a favorable rating of just 40 percent — 10 points lower than the Democrats — and a job approval rating for their congressional wing below 30 percent. If many voters disagree with the direction Obama is taking the country, they clearly aren’t sold on what the Republicans are offering.

    That’s in part because it isn’t clear what Republicans are offering. Is it the conservatism of Rand Paul? The new hero of the tea party got himself so tangled in knots during television appearances that he retired to the sidelines for the weekend, canceling a scheduled appearance Sunday morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

    But what are the boundaries of the tea party movement’s anti-government rhetoric? What role do the activists who have come to Washington to protest Obama’s “takeover” of the health-care system see for the federal government? How would they bring the federal budget into balance and how quickly? What kind of regulation do they favor for big banks or corporations responsible for oil spills in the gulf? What else would they like to repeal beyond health care?

    House GOP leaders will launch an effort this week aimed at producing an agenda for the party, but as long as the tea party is knocking off establishment-backed candidates, what are voters to conclude about who really speaks for the Republican Party?”