The modern Tea Party movement began as a protest of the American income tax system in April of 2009. Named after the Boston Tea Party, where colonists dressed as Native Americans and dumped tea into Boston Harbor, the Tea Party movement stands for fiscal responsibility, low taxes, and minimal government involvement in the day-to-day lives of Americans.
Fox News reports that Ron Paul started the Tea Party movement in his run for the Republican nomination for president in the 2008 election. Although not as historically poignant as the original Boston Tea Party, the American political landscape has been changing in recent primary elections.
The Tea Party in and of itself has no national leader, although a recent rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial led by television personality Glenn Beck and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin seems to point that two important figures have emerged to inspire the Tea Party. Although they are not fully involved with the Tea Party, Beck and Palin seem to legitimize the concerns of Americans.
What Is the Tea Party?
What began as a protest of fiscal conservatism on tax day in April of 2009 has turned into a political voting bloc that cannot be ignored. Actual candidates who are not normally nominated by the Republican Party are winning in the primary elections for Congress in 2010. I have been surprised by the Tea Party’s success at the polls because they seem to be upsetting traditional Republican candidates.
First was Nevada’s U.S. Senate primary race in June. Sue Lowden, Nevada’s state Republican chair, was ahead in polls taken months in advance. Sharron Angle, a former state senator and relative newcomer to politics, beat Lowden in the primary. Part of the reason may have been that Angle was backed by the Tea Party and Democrat Harry Reid also ran ads attacking Lowden, according to the Washington Post.
In the Delaware primary election, another Tea Party candidate upset a Republican stalwart. Christine O’Donnell has run for the United States Senate in the past and lost. In Tuesday’s election, she pulled an upset over Mike Castle, a longtime Congressman from Delaware, according to ABC News.
Tea Party Muster
To me, the Tea Party and its celebrity backers have some clout. In my home state of Missouri, a traditional Republican candidate, Roy Blunt, won the August primary. I was surprised that Sarah Palin didn’t find time to campaign in this important swing state as eight other candidates vied for that slot. Many of the eight remaining candidates were members of the Tea Party movement, according to PBS.
Many people have criticized the Tea Party as lacking a national office or leadership like the Democrats and Republicans. So far that system seems to be working well, in my opinion. If the Tea Party can keep its act together, we’ll be asking “what is the Tea Party” in the 2012 election cycle.
If Sarah Palin says something about a candidate, then chances are that person will garner many more votes and has a chance to win. Missouri’s Republican primary race lacked any Palin endorsements, and therefore I think the other candidates had a poor showing.
The Tea Party has one unifying principle and that would be the ideals of ordinary, hard-working citizens who simply want to take their country back. Until their passions for America go away, the Tea Party will keep going well into the future.
Google, Fox News, Glenn Beck’s website, the Washington Post, ABC News, and PBS all contributed information for this article.