News / USA

    Republicans Credit Tea Party for Gains in Midterm Election

    Rand Paul, a favorite of the Tea Party movement, waves to supporters after winning election as a Republican to the Senate from Kentucky
    Rand Paul, a favorite of the Tea Party movement, waves to supporters after winning election as a Republican to the Senate from Kentucky

    The U.S. Republican Party enjoyed a major victory in last Tuesday's congressional midterm elections, winning back control of the House of Representatives and gaining seats in the Senate.  Republicans are giving the conservative Tea Party movement a lot of credit for their success, but political analysts say the Tea Party could turn into a mixed blessing in the months ahead.  

    The Tea Party is not a political party but more of a grassroots conservative and libertarian movement dedicated to reducing the power and size of the central government in the lives of ordinary Americans.

    The Tea Party movement does not have one leader and is made up of hundreds of small activist groups around the country, which in turn helped dozens of Republicans win congressional races on November 2nd.

    Among those who benefitted from the Tea Party is the new Senator-elect from Kentucky, Rand Paul. "We've come to take our government back," Paul said.

    Paul and other Tea Party favorites like to cite the grassroots nature of the movement, and they in turn have vowed to carry out the Tea Party's aim of smaller government in Washington.

    In addition to Rand Paul, Tea Party activists rallied around winning Republican Senate candidates in Pennsylvania, Utah and Florida, where Republican Marco Rubio emerged victorious in a three-way race.

    Republican Florida Senator-elect Marco Rubio and his wife Jeanette smile as national TV stations call the race in his favor while watching results in Coral Gables, Florida, 2 Nov. 2010
    Republican Florida Senator-elect Marco Rubio and his wife Jeanette smile as national TV stations call the race in his favor while watching results in Coral Gables, Florida, 2 Nov. 2010

    But in the wake of his victory, Rubio had a message for fellow Republicans in Washington. "This election is not an embrace of the Republican Party," he said. "It is a second chance to be about principle and values."

    Former Republican Congressman Dick Armey of Texas is one of several national organizers of the Tea Party movement.  Armey says Republicans will be held to their campaign promises to cut government spending and taxes and confront President Obama in the months ahead.

    "The voters have said to Washington, no, we don't take instructions from you, we don't follow your lead.  You are not in charge.  You are hired hands.  We are in charge and yes, we want action, but we want action on our agenda, on America's agenda," he said.

    Not all Tea Party endorsed candidates succeeded.  Republican Senate candidates lost in Nevada and Delaware and experts say that better candidates in those two races might have helped Republicans retake control of the Senate.

    Republican leaders have acknowledged the role Tea Party support played in this year's midterm elections, and at least for now they say they welcome the scrutiny of the Tea Party to make sure they deliver on their campaign promises.

    "And Tea Party activists will continue to energize our party and challenge us to follow through on our commitments," said Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

    The influx of new senators with allegiances to the Tea Party movement could complicate McConnell's job to unite Republican senators on various issues that come before the Senate.

    "It is an activist group and they are going to demand that the party pay heed to their agenda," said Bob Benenson, a senior political analyst for Congressional Quarterly and the Roll Call newspaper. "This is why we voted for you, this is why we worked so hard for you, we want what is coming to us."

    Tea Party activists overwhelmingly supported Republican candidates this year and gave the party new life after big congressional losses in 2006 and 2008.

    But pollster John Zogby says the increasing influence of the Tea Party could lead to some congressional splits between Tea Party loyalists and moderate Republicans.

    "Their first battle is to define the heart and soul of their party," he said. "For Republicans, is it the establishment, inside-the-beltway [Washington] Republican Party, or is it the Tea Party?  And they have got to decide that."

    Looking ahead, many analysts expect the Tea Party movement to have a big influence on the battle for the Republican Party's presidential nomination in 2012, with several candidates eager to appeal to a group that has already proven it can mobilize voters.

    But University of Virginia expert Larry Sabato says there is a down side to excessive Tea Party influence within the Republican Party. "They are going to try to have a tremendous impact on the Republican side," he said. "They are going to try to pick the nominee.  The problem of course is that the Tea Party is well to the right.  It is further to the right than the country, there is simply no question about that."

    Tea Party activists already have in mind several potential presidential contenders for 2012, and at the top of the list are former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and conservative TV talk show host Glenn Beck.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora