Tea Party Movement

SOURCE:  Wikipedia, 2020-06-02

  • See also:

    The Tea Party movement is an American fiscally conservative political movement within the Republican Party. Members of the movement have called for lower taxes, and for a reduction of the national debt of the United States and federal budget deficit through decreased government spending. The movement supports small-government principles and opposes government-sponsored universal healthcare. The Tea Party movement has been described as a popular constitutional movement composed of a mixture of libertarian, right-wing populist, and conservative activism. It has sponsored multiple protests and supported various political candidates since 2009. According to the American Enterprise Institute, various polls in 2013 estimated that slightly over 10 percent of Americans identified as part of the movement.

    The Tea Party movement was launched following a February 19, 2009, call by CNBC reporter Rick Santelli on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for a "tea party", several conservative activists agreed by conference call to coalesce against President Obama's agenda and scheduled a series of protests. Supporters of the movement subsequently have had a major impact on the internal politics of the Republican Party. Although the Tea Party is not a party in the classic sense of the word, some research suggests that members of the Tea Party Caucus vote like a significantly farther right third party in Congress. A major force behind it was Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a conservative political advocacy group founded by businessmen and political activist David H. Koch. It is unclear exactly how much money is donated to AFP by David and his brother Charles Koch. By 2019, it was reported that the conservative wing of the Republican Party "has basically shed the tea party moniker."

    The movement's name refers to the Boston Tea Party of December 16, 1773, a watershed event in the launch of the American Revolution. The 1773 event demonstrated against taxation by the British government without political representation for the American colonists, and references to the Boston Tea Party and even costumes from the 1770s era are commonly heard and seen in the Tea Party movement.


  • See also: Politics of the United States

    The Tea Party movement focuses on a significant reduction in the size and scope of the government.The movement advocates a national economy operating without government oversight. Movement goals include limiting the size of the federal government, reducing government spending, lowering the national debt and opposing tax increases. To this end, Tea Party groups have protested the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), stimulus programs such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, commonly referred to as the Stimulus or The Recovery Act), cap and trade environmental regulations, health care reform such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, also known simply as the Affordable Care Act or "Obamacare") and perceived attacks by the federal government on their 1st, 2nd, 4th and 10th Amendment rights. Tea Party groups have also voiced support for right to work legislation as well as tighter border security, and opposed amnesty for illegal immigrants. On the federal health care reform law, they began to work at the state level to nullify the law, after the Republican Party lost seats in congress and the Presidency in the 2012 elections. It has also mobilized locally against the United Nations Agenda 21. They have protested the IRS for controversial treatment of groups with "tea party" in their names. They have formed Super PACs to support candidates sympathetic to their goals and have opposed what they call the "Republican establishment" candidates.

    The Tea Party does not have a single uniform agenda. The decentralized character of the Tea Party, with its lack of formal structure or hierarchy, allows each autonomous group to set its own priorities and goals. Goals may conflict, and priorities will often differ between groups. Many Tea Party organizers see this as a strength rather than a weakness, as decentralization has helped to immunize the Tea Party against co-opting by outside entities and corruption from within.

    Even though the groups participating in the movement have a wide range of different goals, the Tea Party places its view of the Constitution at the center of its reform agenda. It urges the return of government as intended by some of the Founding Fathers. It also seeks to teach its view of the Constitution and other founding documents. Scholars have described its interpretation variously as originalist, popular, or a unique combination of the two. Reliance on the Constitution is selective and inconsistent. Adherents cite it, yet do so more as a cultural reference rather than out of commitment to the text, which they seek to alter. Two constitutional amendments have been targeted by some in the movement for full or partial repeal: the 16th that allows an income tax, and the 17th that requires popular election of senators. There has also been support for a proposed Repeal Amendment, which would enable a two-thirds majority of the states to repeal federal laws, and a Balanced Budget Amendment, to limit deficit spending.

    The Tea Party has sought to avoid placing emphasis on traditional conservative social issues. National Tea Party organizations, such as the Tea Party Patriots and FreedomWorks, have expressed concern that engaging in social issues would be divisive. Instead, they have sought to have activists focus their efforts away from social issues and focus on economic and limited government issues. Still, many groups like Glenn Beck's 9/12 Tea Parties, TeaParty.org, the Iowa Tea Party and Delaware Patriot Organizations do act on social issues such as abortion, gun control, prayer in schools, and illegal immigration.

    One attempt at forming a list of what Tea Partiers wanted Congress to do resulted in the Contract from America. It was a legislative agenda created by conservative activist Ryan Hecker with the assistance of Dick Armey of FreedomWorks. Armey had co-written with Newt Gingrich the previous Contract with America released by the Republican Party during the 1994 midterm elections. One thousand agenda ideas that had been submitted were narrowed down to twenty-one non-social issues. Participants then voted in an online campaign in which they were asked to select their favorite policy planks. The results were released as a ten-point Tea Party platform. The Contract from America was met with some support within the Republican Party, but it was not broadly embraced by GOP leadership, which released its own 'Pledge to America'.

    In the aftermath of the 2012 American elections, some Tea Party activists have taken up more traditionally populist ideological viewpoints on issues that are distinct from general conservative views. Examples are various Tea Party demonstrators sometimes coming out in favor of U.S. immigration reform as well as for raising the U.S. minimum wage.

    Foreign policy

  • See also: Foreign policy of the United States

    Historian and writer Walter Russell Mead analyzes the foreign policy views of the Tea Party movement in a 2011 essay published in Foreign Affairs. Mead says that Jacksonian populists, such as the Tea Party, combine a belief in American exceptionalism and its role in the world with skepticism of American's "ability to create a liberal world order." When necessary, they favor 'total war' and unconditional surrender over "limited wars for limited goals." Mead identifies two main trends, one personified by former Texas Congressman Ron Paul and the other by former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin. "Paulites" have a Jeffersonian approach that seeks to avoid foreign military involvement. "Palinites", while seeking to avoid being drawn into unnecessary conflicts, favor a more aggressive response to maintaining America's primacy in international relations. Mead says that both groups share a distaste for "liberal internationalism."

    Some Tea Party-affiliated Republicans, such as Michele Bachmann, Jeff Duncan, Connie Mack IV, Jeff Flake, Tim Scott, Joe Walsh, Allen West, and Jason Chaffetz, voted for progressive Congressman Dennis Kucinich's resolution to withdraw U.S. military personnel from Libya. In the Senate, three Tea Party backed Republicans, Jim DeMint, Mike Lee and Michael Crapo, voted to limit foreign aid to Libya, Pakistan and Egypt. Tea Partiers in both houses of Congress have shown willingness to cut foreign aid. Most leading figures within the Tea Party both within and outside Congress opposed military intervention in Syria.


    The Tea Party movement is composed of a loose affiliation of national and local groups that determine their own platforms and agendas without central leadership. The Tea Party movement has both been cited as an example of grassroots political activity and has also been described as an example of corporate-funded activity made to appear as spontaneous community action, a practice known as "astroturfing." Other observers see the organization as having its grassroots element "amplified by the right-wing media", supported by elite funding.

    The Tea Party movement is not a national political party; polls show that most Tea Partiers consider themselves to be Republicans and the movement's supporters have tended to endorse Republican candidates. Commentators, including Gallup editor-in-chief Frank Newport, have suggested that the movement is not a new political group but simply a re-branding of traditional Republican candidates and policies. An October 2010 Washington Post canvass of local Tea Party organizers found 87% saying "dissatisfaction with mainstream Republican Party leaders" was "an important factor in the support the group has received so far."

    Tea Party activists have expressed support for Republican politicians Sarah Palin, Dick Armey, Michele Bachmann, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz. In July 2010, Michele Bachmann formed the Tea Party Congressional Caucus; however, since July 16, 2012, the caucus has been defunct. An article in Politico reported that many Tea Party activists were skeptical of the caucus, seeing it as an effort by the Republican Party to hijack the movement. Utah congressman Jason Chaffetz refused to join the caucus, saying


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  • See also: List of politicians affiliated with the Tea Party movement

    Membership and demographics

    Several polls have been conducted on the demographics of the movement. Though the various polls sometimes turn up slightly different results, they tend to show that Tea Party supporters tend more likely, than Americans overall, to be white, male, married, older than 45, regularly attending religious services, conservative, and to be more wealthy and have more education. Broadly speaking, multiple surveys have found between 10% and 30% of Americans identify as a member of the Tea Party movement. Most Republicans and 20% of Democrats support the movement according to one Washington Post-ABC News poll.

    According to The Atlantic, the three main groups that provide guidance and organization for the protests, FreedomWorks, dontGO, and Americans for Prosperity, state that the demonstrations are an organic movement. Law professor and commentator Glenn Reynolds, best known as author of the Instapundit political blog, said in the New York Post that: "These aren't the usual semiprofessional protesters who attend antiwar and pro-union marches. These are people with real jobs; most have never attended a protest march before. They represent a kind of energy that our politics hasn't seen lately, and an influx of new activists." Conservative political strategist Tim Phillips, now head of Americans for Prosperity, has remarked that the Republican Party is "too disorganized and unsure of itself to pull this off."

    The Christian Science Monitor has noted that Tea Party activists "have been called neo-Klansmen and knuckle-dragging hillbillies", adding that "demonizing tea party activists tends to energize the Democrats' left-of-center base" and that "polls suggest that tea party activists are not only more mainstream than many critics suggest", but that a majority of them are women, not angry white men. The article quoted Juan Williams as saying that the Tea Party's opposition to health reform was based on self-interest rather than racism.

    A Gallup poll conducted in March 2010 found that -- other than gender, income and politics -- self-described Tea Party members were demographically similar to the population as a whole. A 2014 article from Forbes.com stated that the Tea Party's membership appears reminiscent of the people who supported independent Ross Perot's presidential campaigns in the 1990s.

    When surveying supporters or participants of the Tea Party movement, polls have shown that they are to a very great extent more likely to be registered Republican, have a favorable opinion of the Republican Party and an unfavorable opinion of the Democratic Party. The Bloomberg National Poll of adults 18 and over showed that 40% of Tea Party supporters are 55 or older, compared with 32% of all poll respondents; 79% are white, 61% are men and 44% identify as "born-again Christians", compared with 75%, 48.5%, and 34% for the general population, respectively.

    According to Susan Page and Naomi Jagoda of USA Today in 2010, the Tea Party was more "a frustrated state of mind" than "a classic political movement." Tea party members "are more likely to be married and a bit older than the nation as a whole." They are predominantly white, but other groups make up just under one-fourth of their ranks. They believe that the federal government has become too large and powerful. Surveys of Republican primary voters in the South in 2012 show that Tea Party supporters were not driven by racial animosity. Instead there was a strong positive relationship with religious evangelicalism. Tea Party supporters were older, male, poorer, more ideologically conservative, and more partisan than their fellow Republicans.

    Polling of supporters

    An October 2010 Washington Post canvass of local Tea Party organizers found 99% said "concern about the economy" was an "important factor." Various polls have also probed Tea Party supporters for their views on a variety of political and controversial issues. On the question of whether they think their own income taxes this year are fair, 52% of Tea Party supporters told pollsters for CBS/New York Times that they were, versus 62% in the general population (including Tea Party supporters). A Bloomberg News poll found that Tea Partiers are not against increased government action in all cases. "The ideas that find nearly universal agreement among Tea Party supporters are rather vague," says J. Ann Selzer, the pollster who created the survey. "You would think any idea that involves more government action would be anathema, and that is just not the case."

    In advance of a new edition of their book American Grace, political scientists David E. Campbell of Notre Dame and Robert D. Putnam of Harvard published in a The New York Times opinion the results of their research into the political attitudes and background of Tea Party supporters. Using a pre-Tea Party poll in 2006 and going back to the same respondents in 2011, they found the supporters to be not "nonpartisan political neophytes" as often described, but largely "overwhelmingly partisan Republicans" who were politically active prior to the Tea Party. The survey found Tea Party supporters "no more likely than anyone else" to have suffered hardship during the 2007-2010 recession. Additionally, the respondents were more concerned about "putting God in government" than with trying to shrink government.

    The 2010 midterm elections demonstrated considerable skepticism within the Tea Party movement with respect to the dangers and the reality of global warming. A New York Times/CBS News Poll during the election revealed that only a small percentage of Tea Party supporters considered global warming a serious problem, much less than the portion of the general public that does. The Tea Party is strongly opposed to government-imposed limits on carbon dioxide emissions as part of emissions trading legislation to encourage use of fuels that emit less carbon dioxide. An example is the movement's support of California Proposition 23, which would suspend AB32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. The proposition failed to pass, with less than 40% voting in favor.

    Many of the movement's members also favor stricter measures against illegal immigration.

    Polls found that just 7% of Tea Party supporters approve of how Obama is doing his job compared to 50% (as of April 2010) of the general public, and that roughly 77% of supporters had voted for Obama's Republican opponent, John McCain in 2008.

    [Xenophobia | Homophobia:] A University of Washington poll of 1,695 registered voters in the state of Washington reported that 73% of Tea Party supporters disapprove of Obama's policy of engaging with Muslim countries, 88% approve of the controversial Arizona immigration law enacted in 2010 that requires police to question people they suspect are illegal immigrants for proof of legal status, 54% feel that immigration is changing the culture in the U.S. for the worse, 82% do not believe that gay and lesbian couples should have the legal right to marry, and that about 52% believe that "compared to the size of the group, lesbians and gays have too much political power."


    The movement has been supported nationally by prominent individuals and organizations.


    List of politicians affiliated with the Tea Party movement

  • Source:  Wikipedia

    The following American politicians are affiliated with the Tea Party movement, which is generally considered to be conservative, libertarian-leaning, and populist. The Tea Party movement is a political movement that advocates reducing the U.S. national debt and federal budget deficit by reducing U.S. government spending and taxes.

    The Tea Party movement is not a single, formal political party, but is represented by activist groups such as the Tea Party Patriots, and the Tea Party Express.

    However, research has shown that members of the Tea Party Caucus vote like a third party in Congress. The Tea Party Caucus was the primary vehicle for the Tea Party movement in Congress. The Liberty Caucus, and Freedom Caucus are closely associated with the Tea Party movement.

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    Non-profit social welfare organizations (IRS classification 501(c)(4))

    Note: the self-reported membership numbers below are several years old.

    FreedomWorksAmericans for Prosperity,  and DontGo, a free market political activist non-profit group, were guiding the Tea Party movement in April 2009, according to "The Atlantic." Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks were "probably the leading partners" in the September 2009 Taxpayer March on Washington, also known as the 9/12 Tea Party, according to "The Guardian."

    Tea Party Review

    For-profit businesses

    Informal organizations and coalitions

    Student movement

    Other influential organizations include Americans for Limited Government, the training organization American Majority, the Our Country Deserves Better political action committee, and Glenn Beck's 9-12 Project, according to the "National Journal" in February 2010.


    Sarah Palin headlined four "Liberty at the Ballot Box" bus tours, to raise money for candidates and the Tea Party Express. One of the tours visited 30 towns and covered 3,000 miles. Following the formation of the Tea Party Caucus, Michele Bachmann raised $10 million for a political action committee, MichelePAC, and sent funds to the campaigns of Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio. In September 2010, the Tea Party Patriots announced it had received a $1,000,000 donation from an anonymous donor.

    Support of Koch brothers

  • Main article: Political activities of the Koch family  |  Koch Family Foundations

    In an August 30, 2010, article in "The New Yorker," Jane Mayer asserted that the brothers David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch and Koch Industries provided financial support to one of the organizations that became part of the Tea Party movement through Americans for Prosperity. The AFP's "Hot Air Tour" was organized to fight against taxes on carbon use and the activation of a cap and trade program. A Koch Industries company spokesperson issued a 2010 statement saying "No funding has been provided by Koch companies, the Koch foundation, or Charles Koch or David Koch specifically to support the tea parties."

    Public opinion

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    The final round of debate before voting on the health care bill was marked with vandalism and widespread threats of violence to at least ten Democratic lawmakers across the country, which created public relations problems for the fledgeling Tea Party movement. On March 22, 2010, in what the New York Times called "potentially the most dangerous of many acts of violence and threats against supporters of the bill," a Lynchburg, Virginia Tea Party organizer and the Danville, Virginia Tea Party Chairman both posted the home address of Representative Tom Perriello's brother (mistakenly believing it was the Congressman's address) on their websites, and encouraged readers to "drop by" to express their anger against Representative Perriello's vote in favor of the healthcare bill. The following day, after smelling gas in his house, a severed gas line that connected to a propane tank was discovered on Perriello's brother's screened-in porch. Local police and FBI investigators determined that it was intentionally cut as an act of vandalism. Perriello's brother also received a threatening letter referencing the legislation. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli stated that posting a home address on a website and encouraging people to visit is "an appalling approach. It's not civil discourse, it's an invitation to intimidation and it's totally unacceptable." Leaders of the Tea Party movement tried to contain the public relations damage by denouncing the violent acts and distancing themselves from those behind the acts. One Tea Party website issued a response saying the Tea Party member's action of posting the address "was not requested, sanctioned or endorsed by the Lynchburg Tea Party." The director of the Northern Colorado Tea Party said, "Although many are frustrated by the passage of such controversial legislation, threats are absolutely not acceptable in any form, to any lawmaker, of any party."

    In early July 2010, the North Iowa Tea Party (NITP) posted a billboard showing a photo of Adolf Hitler with the heading "National Socialism", one of Barack Obama with the heading "Democrat Socialism", and one of Vladimir Lenin with the heading "Marxist Socialism", all three marked with the word "change" and the statement "Radical leaders prey on the fearful and naive." It received sharp criticism, including some from other Tea Party activists. NITP co-founder Bob Johnson acknowledged the anti-socialist message may have gotten lost amid the fascist and communist images. Following a request from the NITP, the billboard was removed on July 14.

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