Did the Tea Party Brew Their Cup Too Strong to Survive 2014?
The Tea Party, a more conservative group considered farther right than the average member of the Republican party, has rapidly carved a place for itself in politics. However, it has had some ups and downs in recent months, and not all Republicans are fond of their relative in Washington, which makes the longevity of the Tea Party an item up for some debate. Most members of the Republican party considered the Tea Party a separate entity, according to a Pew Research Poll, or at least, they did back in October when the political climate was slightly different.
For the most part, it seems that the Tea Party and Republican Party have something of a ven diagram relationship, with some Republicans considering themselves Tea Party Republicans, and others considering themselves unaffiliated, and visa versa. That said, Tea Party Republicans are “more likely than non-Tea Party Republicans to say that the Tea Party is part of the GOP, rather than a separate movement,” a 41 percent to 27 percent comparison.
Tea Partyists have had a rough go of things in Washington as of late, and with primaries coming up in Congress, their strength could wax or wane depending on how the election season goes. Their role in politics place the Republican party as a whole in a more precarious position. When Republicans have fallen more towards middle of the road compromises, as in the case of the budget deal and debt-limit, the Tea Party response was highly negative. This means, according to the Wall Street Journal, that Ohio saw conservative activists increasing endeavors to win GOP seats following the debt limit vote, with candidates from Kentucky and Mississippi also working to snatch up seats that could be in greater risk due to a frustrated public.
Some issues will be especially sensitive to the Tea Party, such as immigration, meaning that discussion on the topic between Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Barack Obama Tuesday would be under more strain. This makes the outcome of the elections that much more important, as some factions of the Tea Party and the GOP have grown rather divisive. “I don’t have any problem with the tea party,” said Boehner, according to the Journal. ”Those people have brought great energy to the political process. My problem was with some Washington organizations who purport to represent the tea party. There’s nothing I could to that was ever conservative enough for them,” he said.
“This civil war has broken into actual warfare. We will never get the governance we seek until the people voting on policy are there to represent the people and not special interests,” said Tom Zawistowski to the Journal, as the president of Ohio Citizens PAC, a section of the Tea Party that’s heading up the first GOP primary challenge to Ohio. Mississippi will likely also have competition, perhaps even more so than Ohio. Still, based on a Gallup poll done in early December, Tea Party popularity has been steadily shrinking since it first became known, with only 22 percent of Americans considering themselves supporters, 24 percent opponents, and 48 percent saying they are neither.