What Will The Tea Partiers Do?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by QUENTIN, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. QUENTIN
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    QUENTIN VIP Member

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    The large, heterogeneous, loosely-connected "Tea Party Movement(s)" span a spectrum of people with wide and disparate concerns. Some of them are indeed racists or radicals, warmongers and religious zealots. But it's a big tent and they've also got a lot of hard-working, reasonable people who share very legitimate concerns about the state of the country that are neither partisan nor unfounded.

    - The massive, unsustainable national debt.
    - The collusion between the largest business interests and government, including the numerous backroom "pay for play" deals that are a daily occurrence in Washington and most egregiously and monumentally exemplified by the bailout.
    - The revolving door between government and business where it's only not called "bribery" because they wait until officials are out of office to pay them handsomely for their favors, resulting in legislation like NAFTA that benefit the politically connected and see millions of American jobs lost.
    - The erosion of personal privacy and liberty and escalation of the Surveillance State.
    - The national security of a nation whose government has proven itself incompetent at minimizing the risk of terrorism.
    - That neither major party fields candidates who represent the voters or their best interests and seem pre-selected by the same entities that act in opposition to public desires.
    - The general sense that America is not in practice a very democratic country. That the people's interests are largely ignored by both houses of Congress and the Executive, and the people have ultimately relatively little say in what their government does.

    There are lots of whackjobs too, as noted. People who don't know what Marxism and Socialism and Fascism and Capitalism are. People who want to see a phantom birth certificate. Go to any major gathering of anti-war, or anti-IMF/World Bank/WTO demonstrators and you'll similarly find people who cling to Loose Change and "New World Order" Illuminati crap or racists who think "Jews run the world." Get enough people together, you'll have a loud section of idiots. Let's forget about them for a minute, because I think they're ultimately just a vocal minority.

    What I'm concerned with are the rest of the people. Those who for whatever reason have come to the realization that they should exercise far greater control over the direction of their country and are righteously pissed off that they don't. People can argue they should have woken up sooner when the same shit was being done by previous presidents and I understand that, but whatever. Whatever the catalyst, a lot of Americans have woken up, realized they don't like what they see, and decided to get engaged. That's democracy in action.

    So here's my question: who will capitalize on this large group of concerned citizens and voters?

    Fox News has co-opted a lot of the protests and protesters and Glenn Beck has emerged as some sort of leader to many of them. Okay, so some GOP interests are astroturfing and they'll be able to cynically manipulate some of these people to just vote Republican again. The National Republican Party hasn't represented conservatism or any of the values expressed by the sane contingent of tea partiers in at least 60 years, but propaganda and the hopeless false dichotomy of "you have to choose one of the major parties" will surely get a considerable amount of these voters. In the same sense that the Democratic party is able to siphon a lot of votes from people who consider themselves liberal but ultimately care more about defeating the GOP than they do about achieving progress as a nation and people and accept the opposite side of the same false dichotomy.

    So yeah, obviously, the GOP will be able to capitalize on the anger and dissatisfaction to some extent and trick a section of these people into voting for the same people whose policies they're opposed to. Let's forget them for a minute too. It's yet to be seen how many of these people will be fooled, but I'd like to remain optimistic that it's not most. Even if the big events are astroturfed at the organizational level, that doesn't mean most of the people attending aren't there with good intentions, earnestly and honestly concerned Americans. And with relatively little effort, those who haven't already blamed the mass of Washington as a whole as the problem, rather than just one party or president, could easily come to that realization.

    Will they? Will a significant portion of the tea party movement form a new political party? If so, will they run a genuine political outsider? Is there any candidate out there, big or small, who genuinely represents their interests and could win their support? Or are they too disparate, with too many different and competing interests and subgroups to coalesce into a cohesive whole?

    If no alternate party seems viable, will they simply not vote? That would also be a very impactful form of dissent, forcing a low voter turn out to demonstrate to the national parties they are not supported. With no mandate and low numbers, they could minimize the amount of power the President and Congress were able to claim and exercise, or at least demonstrate that Washington doesn't represent the American people.

    Do they have enough in common with Libertarians or disillusioned Progressives to join forces? Perhaps a new Populist Party...or maybe that makes the tent even bigger and more unmanageable. But I do think there's a lot of variety and competing interests within the Democratic and Republican Parties anyway, so we've seen an organization doesn't have to be lockstep to gain power.

    I don't know. I'm genuinely not sure how all this will play out but I think it's a very interesting contemporary phenomenon and I'm interested to hear what the rest of you think. Is this movement the foundation of a new third party, will they let themselves be absorbed by an existing party when they seem so fed up with the status quo, will they sit the election out or fill the house with unconnected independents? How much power do they really possess, is there any way to know just how many people can be grouped together as a part of this movement?

    What do you think?

    *I'll prepare myself for a deluge of "TL; DR"s, but to those with something to offer I'd appreciate thoughtful insight and hope this doesn't become another pissing match between the existing parties. If you consider yourself a member of the movement, I'm particularly interested to hear what your thoughts are and your experience has been so far in terms of getting organized and attempting to exert influence.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2010
  2. VaYank5150
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    VaYank5150 Gold Member

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    The Dems will capitalize. "Tea Partiers" will not associate with Dems or liberals, however, since Tea Partiers are every bit as fractured as the GOP, their votes will go to anyone but the GOP candidate, regardless of who it is. This in turn will help re-elect Obama in 2012.
     
  3. QUENTIN
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    QUENTIN VIP Member

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    I agree that Obama is likely to be re-elected in 2012.

    There's no chance a brand new political party could win the national election.

    What I'm wondering is whether this movement could provide the basis for a viable third party in the long term. Would they be dedicated but ultimately marginalized to the point of near-insignificance like the Greens or Libertarians, have a huge impact but only briefly as a flash in the pan like Perot, be co-opted by one of the existing parties and in effect renounce the principles that led them to form, change the makeup of an existing party to the point of dramatically altering its platform by joining, or could they form a lasting independent opposition party? Like any popular movement, it has the possibility of shifting the political landscape or disappearing quickly.

    In large part, it's a question of how many members there are, how committed they are to the ideas they're expressing, and what kind of influence they can exert based on that.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2010
  4. Article 15
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    Article 15 Dr. House slayer

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    The 2012 GOP nominee will say some stuff about limited government, cutting spending, and other red meat talking points and the Tea Partiers will then become their most fervent supporters.
     
  5. Claudette
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    Claudette Gold Member

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    I don't think you will ever see a viable third party in America. Wish it weren't so as I think a third party is badly needed. Someone to vote for besides a Dem or a Rep who might stand a chance of winning.

    Americans have short memeories and if the country is up and running and all is well OL'BO might very well get re-elected, god forbid. It will also depend on who the GOP can field against him. Thats the big question. Don't see any front runners right now but time will tell on this one.
     
  6. Hellokitty
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    Hellokitty Member

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    I think the TP movement has a good chance to become a strong 3rd party voice and will have an impact on candidates running for elections. It will be a competition between the D & R's to see how many TP votes they can get. The TP movement has the ability, and is receiving a lot of money from small donors. The TP movement is a start for many people learning about the history of our country. Many are seeing the passion expressed by people around the world who value the little freedoms they have, while our freedoms are being taking away.
     
  7. CrusaderFrank
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    CrusaderFrank Diamond Member

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    Dem losses in 2010 will make 1994 look like Happy Days, Obama's a one-termer. Hillary should start gearing up after the 2010 Dem Debacle

    Dems have lost all moderates, small business and most of the elderly.
     
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  8. Soggy in NOLA
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    Soggy in NOLA Platinum Member

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    The U.S. Post Service was established in 1775. They have had 234 years to get it right and it is broke.
    Social Securitywas established in 1935. They have had 74 years to get it right and it is broke.
    Fannie Mae was established in 1938. They have had 71 years to get it right and it is broke.
    War on Poverty started in 1964. They have had 45 years to get it right; $1 trillion of our money is confiscated each year and transferred to "the poor" and they only want more.
    Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965. They have had 44 years to get it right and they are broke.
    Freddie Mac was established in 1970.. They have had 39 years to get it right and it is broke.
    The Department of Energy was created in 1977 to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. It has ballooned to 16,000 employees with a budget of $24 billion a year and we import more oil than ever before. You had 32 years to get it right and it is an abysmal failure.

    Gee, And people are frustrated?
     
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  9. CrusaderFrank
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    CrusaderFrank Diamond Member

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    There's our motto for 2010 and 2012
     
  10. Soggy in NOLA
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    Soggy in NOLA Platinum Member

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    Amen bro. Amen.
     

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