Sep 11, 2010

Answer to 9/10 Question: The Tea Party Cannot Stand Alone

Yesterday I asked whether the Tea Party could be a viable third party for the United States to break us out of our two-party political system.

I don't believe it can stand alone as the Tea Party suffers from divisiveness and decentralization that make in unsustainable as a national political movement. In other words, at some point in the coming months (likely after the election) the Tea Party will simply die.

For one thing the Tea Party is not a single movement, it is a coalition of national and regional organizations, often funded and run by conservative political action committees. Among these groups are the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition, the Tea Party Express, the Tea Party Nation, The Tea Party Patriots and the National Tea Party Federation. Though these groups often share events they don't always share opinions and leadership. Clicking on their links will show you that they lack good Web site designers and copy writers.

Another issue with the Tea Party is that because of its essential disunity, it doesn't have any clear leaders. Certainly media personalities like Glenn Beck and tabloid queen Sarah Palin hold a great amount of influence in the movement, but in reality it was born out of popular discontent and that is one of it's problems. If an angry and less rational segment of society coalesces into a potent socio-political movement, they can have strong regional political influence, hence the smattering of right-wing fringe Tea Party candidates in some congressional, gubernatorial and senatorial elections this fall.

That is another problem with the Tea Party in the long term. Its membership exists to the right of most Republicans politically. The Republican Party will not win elections if it abandons the political middle and so it has good reason to jettison the Tea Party movement. On the other hand, the Tea Party is made up of the traditional Republican base, so every effort will be made to pull these people back under the GOP tent. In the long run, the Tea Party will shrivel up like the human appendix.

The final problem that the Tea Party faces in trying to become a viable political party is disunity on issues. Tea Party protestors originally echoes their namesakes in colonial America arguing against taxation by a government (nevermind that the Boston Tea Partiers were fighting taxation by a non-representative government, while today's Tea Party is taxed by officials WE THE PEOPLE elected). Now the Tea Party is fighting Ear Marks, Cap and Trade, Health Care Reform, Immigration and wants to usurp the power of the Supreme Court and determine the constitutionality of laws from the Oval Office and the floor of Congress.

The Tea Party in essence exists as an anti-American government movement. It would be hypocritical for them to operate as members of the government they oppose.

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