Tea Party 3.0: Occupy the Establishment

It is axiomatic that there are as many visions of the current state and future prospects of the tea party movement as there are individuals who identify with its principles. But one thing is certain: the tea party is changing.

From a recent piece in Virginia’s Bearing Drift Magazine:

Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that the tea party has reached a crossroads. Gone are the heady days of 2009, when hundreds of thousands of activists, many of them political neophytes, made history with the 9/12 March on Washington to vent their frustration over government spending and bailouts. Gone also is the sense of inevitability that built steadily throughout 2010, until a groundswell of anti-establishment anger propelled tea party-aligned candidates to upset victories in local, state and federal elections all across the country…

As the 2012 election season begins in earnest, the tea party still identifies most comfortably with the ideological purity of its populist roots, but is also seeking to expand its electoral influence and institutionalize its minimalist philosophy of government. However, in large part, the tea party’s future will be determined by how closely its members study the lessons of their recent past.

In Indiana, for example, tea party activists suffered an embarrassing loss in the 2010 Senate primary due to their inability to compromise and coalesce behind a single conservative candidate. Rather than allow themselves to be consumed with bitterness and mutual recrimination, Hoosier activists chose to adapt to the changing political climate by getting better organized and better trained in the fundamentals of grassroots campaigning… In short, the tea parties in Indiana have started acting as if they are working for the Republican establishment instead of trying to defeat it…

Having been burned many times in the past by Republicans who say one thing to get elected and do another once in office, tea partiers are often reluctant to come together and compromise in support of a candidate who is not their first choice, or to seize the levers of power that control the Republican Party apparatus at local and state levels. But unite and seize power they must…

Read the rest HERE.

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