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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tea Parties: A Movement or a Party

Recent polls indicate that the most powerful force in politics today may in fact be the Tea Parties. Of course, a force is a very nebulous thing in politics. There was a time that Barack Obama was a force and that made him the President. Since then, he's had to govern and he's been brought down to Earth and quick.

So far, the tea parties have shown they can organize, they can create a protest, and they can make their voices heard. Furthermore, the tea parties represent the every man against government corruption, waste, and inefficiencies. This was the easy part. Organizing rallies, protests and town halls shouldn't be understated. The tea parties proved this past summer that their message resonates.

Now, comes the hard part. They need to transform that message into a force that influences. So far, the movement has failed on that end. Now, to be fair, there's only been one test. That test was in New York when the Tea Parties backed Doug Hoffman. Hoffman lost. Many tea party folks still refuse to view this as a loss but it was.

The tea parties have a tension. They are going back and forth between trying to overwhelm the Republicans and force that party into purity and just turning themselves into a third party. In fact, that tension was on display in the Hoffman race. Hoffman ran on the Conservative Party ticket. He essentially replaced the Republican there.

The problem is that neither side is all that simple to accomplish. Right now, the tea party folks are determined to overthrow Charlie Crist in Florida's Senatorial race. He's running against Marco Rubio in the Republican primary. Rubio is down the line conservative while Crist is a moderate. The Tea Parties may in fact be successful in dethroning Crist in the primary. Right now, the two are running neck and neck. If Rubio does win however, he'll likely lose in the general election. The tea parties are determined to turn the Republican party into a down the line conservative party. That sounds good in theory. The problem is that down the line conservatism doesn't play in every part of the country. It won't work in Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, among a host of areas. Florida is a purple state. A moderate works best there. The tea parties have no use for that and they're likely to get rid of Crist.

If the Tea parties go around the country challenging every moderate: Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Susan Collins, etc., what they'll do is eliminate in the primaries the only person that can win the general election. Sure, the Republican party will be only conservatives. It will also be a party that won't even have enough members to create a filibuster.

If the tea parties did the natural thing and turned themselves into a third party, that also has plenty of pitfalls. Here in Chicago, the Republicans have a party chair. They have precinct captains in nearly every ward. That's about what the GOP has nearly everywhere and of course the Democrats are the same. That's the kind of organization both parties have. Then, there's ballot access. Both parties have an army of lawyers to challenge each and every signature, ballot, and packet for a race any time in any municipality. A third party would need to be able to run a candidate in every race everywhere to be legitimate. The Green Party, the most powerful third party, gets onto barely 20% of the ballots.

In fact, the only way for the tea parties to thrive as a third party is to run someone with name recognition as the Presidential candidate, and either win or at least supersede all expectations. The most natural candidate is Sarah Palin. I think it's pretty much common knowledge that she wants to lead such a movement. She has little use for the Republican establishment. She's loved by the movement. Furthermore, she has such massive star power that she could raise enough money without the organization of the Republican party.

Of course, if Palin did run and only took votes away from the Republican and ultimately the Democrat won, she and the movement would become hated in many quarters. So, even there, it's a move with plenty of pitfalls. The movement has come to a crossroads. It must decide what to do with its popularity and power. So far, it's accomplished the easy part. Moving forward that will be the hard part.


AG said...

" Of course, if Palin did run and only took votes away from the Republican and ultimately the Democrat won, she and the movement would become hated in many quarters."

That being said, I don't see why people who consider Hoffman outperforming Scozzafava a victory despite his loss to Owens would care much for the hatred of said quarters.

Here's a fun question. If Palin decided to run, and she took the Tea Partiers with her, would the Republicans be forced to secede leadership to her? And if not, if there was a third party going, who would you support?

Anonymous said...

Before the holiday period distracts I, Jorge Antonio Lovenguth, am on the Florida 2010 active list with the Florida Sect. of State and the FEC. I switched my political party to TEA and am the listed Florida 2010 United States Senator candidate for the November 2, 2010 Election.

Since I refuse to accept any contributions from the corporations to make a point, which is that both Democrat and Republican candidates, and professional politicians, only vote for the interest of said corporation and not the people.
"Pass The Word" campaign method. Interesting to me, and many of my supporters (veterans, the elderly, teachers, pilots, law enforcement members,and many new young voters

"America celebrates Independence Day; not a republican, democrat, or corporation day.

As a still active FAA licensed Advanced Ground Instructor -Instrument (IGI) I try to teach them the process. As a former Marine Corps combat (Vietnam) aircrew helicopter volunteer door gunner I learned the value of keeping my eyes and ears open and as a student of Theology and English literature, I always look and listen for what is not there and should be!

In this election cycle what is not here and should be, is a unified TEA political party message. Too many egos seem to be involved as to who started it, what its message is, who will support the republican or the democrat! Sir, the candidates who will represent the people, and who will vote for only a candidate who is TEA, must be focused on now. Those who hope will fail, those who act will win, plain and simple. I tend to act; it is my nature, my training, and my experience. I check the ego at the door and I suggest others do so as well. In the short and long haul it doesn't matter who started it all, history will write that fact. What in vital and paramount today until November 2nd, 2010 is that people register the new young people and get a TEA candidate on the Florida ballot for every office now.

I have my website http://www.TeaParty.Pro and am getting the message out that Florida will no longer elect professional politicians nor those financed by corporations (many aren't even American or Florida owned). I'm told not taking corporate money is crazy. My reply is that if an American citizen wants to make a small donation for me, the TEA candidate for the Florida United States Senator Election in 2010, then they can donate 1, 5, 10, whatever they can afford and assist me in this quest that I understand you began. Our time is now sir. I play second fiddle to no Democrat or Republican, or corporate lobbyist. I would request any advice or support you may have to offer and I will not bring any shame on the political party you certified on November 6, 2009 with the Florida Sect. of State. I believe you did a noble and very American action. Perhaps with the example of Florida, the rest of this American nation will follow due course.

Thank you for reading and I look forward to meeting you in person in the near future. Also, youtube has a nice song which applies to what the TEA polictical party needs to listen to: Enjoy.


Jorge Lovenguth (George)