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The News of the Day: Is the Tea Party Movement Over?

(And Why It Matters)

Many pundits now argue that the Tea Party movement has stopped being a serious force in U.S. politics since Donald Trump took office. The movement became popular in 2009, garnering a number of significant victories during the 2010 election. It also won some notable elections during 2012 and 2014. It had little power during the 2012 presidential election, mainly because many Tea Partiers considered Mitt Romney a liberal-leaning Republican rather than a genuine fiscal conservative. Major election victories for the Tea Party movement included Rand Paul in Kentucky (2010), Tim Scott in South Carolina (2010), Nikki Haley in South Carolina (2010), Marco Rubio in Florida (2010), Mike Lee in Utah (2010), Scott Walker in Wisconsin (2010 and 2012), Ted Cruz in Texas (2012), Mike Pence in Indiana (2012), Dan Patrick in Texas (2014), and many others.


The three major drives of the Tea Party movement were (1) significantly reducing the national debt and deficit, (2) growing the economy by cutting taxes and drastically reducing the levels of federal regulation on the free market, and (3) opposing illegal immigration and its fiscal and national-security dangers. Because candidate Trump gave vocal support to all three of these core Tea Party ideals, many believe the Tea Parties had a major role in electing him in 2016. As mentioned, some suggest that since his inauguration the Tea Party movement has declined and its popularity and influence are now all but extinct. Others argue that by effectively promoting items 2 and 3 (tax cuts and deregulation on a massive scale, and a consistent push against illegal immigration), Trump is implementing the goals of the Tea Party movement from Washington in a way that doesn’t demand continued grassroots protest.

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