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

Photogallery Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid