I typically get asked several times a month (sometimes it seems like weekly) by reporters, “So, is the tea party dead?” My response has always been, “No, not even close. Tired, yes. But not dead.” I’ve then explained that the real tea party has moved past protesting and rallies to doing the work that brings meaningful change. I said part of the proof would be in the Republican primaries of 2012 and then the general in the fall.
I would say so far, the tea party is showing it’s still alive and kicking. Lugar losing by nearly 20 points to Mourdock was the start. Then Fischer in Nebraska wins a three way primary (though the Madison Project candidate, Stenberg, lost, the point was to beat the establishment candidate, Bruning). If you look at the numbers, the conservative, more tea party candidates, garnered 60% of the vote (which by the way, is about what Mourdock got in the Indiana Senate primary).
The next tests for the tea party grassroots are in Texas with the Senate primary there, Wisconsin with the recall the beginning of June, and then the Utah Senate primary the end of June. Though all are tough battles and fights, and will be closely contested, if the tea party can win several of the next fights, I think it picks up steam moving into the fall. You’re beginning to see other rumblings in other states of the tea party starting to gear up again. While Romney will hardly inspire the tea party, Senate candidates, House candidates and state and local will, and the rising tide will help the Romney ship.
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