Since the Tea Party movement burst onto the national scene in 2009 in response to the passing of the economic stimulus package, it has evolved into a political force expected to play a major role in the 2010 mid-term elections.
The Tea Party is a political movement in the United States that has sponsored locally- and nationally-coordinated protests since 2009.its platform is explicitly populistand is generally recognized as conservative and libertarian. It endorses reduced government spending, lower taxes, reduction of the national debt and federal budget deficit, and adherence to an originalist interpretation of the United States Constitution.
The name "Tea Party" is a reference to the Boston Tea Party, a protest by colonists who objected to a British tax on tea in 1773 anddemonstrated by dumping British tea taken from docked ships into the harbor.Their rallying cry of "no taxation without representation" has become a slogan of the Tea Party movement.
As of 2010, the Tea Party Movement is not a national political party, does not officially run Congressional candidates, and its name has not appeared on any ballots, but it has so far endorsed Republican candidates.The TeaParty movement has no central leadership but is composed of a loose affiliation of national and local groups that determine their own platforms and agendas. For this reason, the Tea Party movement is often cited as an example of grassroots political activity, although it has also been cited as an example of astroturfing.
According to pollster Scott Rasmussen, the bailouts of banks by the Bushand Obama administrations triggered the Tea Party’s rise. The interviewer adds that the movement's anger centers on two issues, quoting Rasmussen as saying, "They think federal spending, deficits and taxes are too high, and they think no one in Washington is listening to them, and that latter point is really, really important."
Because the Tea Party's most noted national figures include highlyseasoned Republican politicians such as Dick Armey and Sarah Palin, nearly all Tea Party candidates have run as Republicans, and almost 80% of Tea Partiers consider themselves to be Republicans,certain observers have suggested that the "movement" is not a new political group, but simply a marketing tool for traditional Republican candidates and policies.
The success of candidates popular within theTea Party movement has boosted Sarah Palin's visibility.Rasmussen and Schoen (2010) conclude that "She is the symbolic leader of the movement, and more than anyone else has helped to shape it."
Political analyst Dick Morris says there is no national leadership. "Those who conduct its affairs are mere coordinators of local groups where the real power lies. The entire affair is a grassroots-dominated movement." He notes that the teapartypatriots.org umbrella group, with more than 2,800 local affiliates, has only seven paid staff members, and a payroll of $50,000 a month.The movement has been supported nationally by prominent individuals and organizations, including:
The Nationwide Tea Party Coalition, a loose national coalition of several dozen local tea party groups;
Tea PartyExpress, a national bus tour run by Our Country Deserves Better PAC, itself a conservative political action committee created by Sacramento-based Republican consulting firm Russo, Marsh, and Associates.
Recent estimates have as many as 33 Tea Party-backed candidates involved in tossup races or running in House districts that were solidly or leaning Republican, and eight standing a good or better chanceof winning Senate seats.
Despite the existence of numerous Tea Party groups with varying principles, the most commonly held tenets appear to be lower taxes, smaller government and a strict adherence to the U.S. Constitution. The 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45, according to a New York...
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