News / USA

Tea Party Offers Risks and Rewards for Republicans

Grass-roots conservative activists with the so-called Tea Party movement are on their way to Washington in a national bus tour.  Tea Party supporters launched their tour with a series of rallies in Nevada and Arizona.  VOA  attended some of the recent rallies and has more on what the Tea Party activists want and what their impact might be in U.S. congressional midterm elections in November.

Tea Party supporters tend to be conservative.  They are largely white, middle-aged or older, and have a deep suspicion of government.

They also tend to be very critical of President Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress.

"Socialism and tyranny, despotism, communism, and a closet Muslim," Rusty Green stated.  He travels the country attending Tea Party rallies and selling anti-Obama bumper stickers and t-shirts.

"I believe in maximum freedom, minimum government.  The government should be controlled by the people, not the people controlled by the government.  That is what the Tea Party is about in my mind," he added.

Green was among thousands of people who attended a recent Tea Party rally in Searchlight, Nevada.  Searchlight is the home of Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, and Tea Party activists used the rally to call for his defeat in the congressional elections coming up in November.

The Tea Party movement takes its name and inspiration from anti-tax protests of the past, especially the Boston Tea Party in 1773 when American colonists threw tea into Boston Harbor as a protest against taxes imposed by Britain. 

Tea Party activists do not like taxes, government spending or the Obama health-care plan.

But they do like former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. "And we are not going to sit down and shut up, and thank you for standing up!" she said.

Many in the crowd at the rally in Searchlight held signs urging Palin to run for president in 2012.

But most of the local Republican politicians who attended the rally were hoping to draw Tea Party activists into their campaigns.

Sharron Angle is a Republican running for the Senate in Nevada. "The Tea Party movement is like me.  They are just sick and tired of the way that the government has taken their Constitution and dragged it through the mud," she said.

But some of the Tea Party supporters are critical of the Republican Party for not doing more to control government spending when it held the majority in Congress.

Harris Holler came to the Tea Party rally from California. "I believe that the Tea Party movement is more aligned with the Republican Party, but I also believe that a lot of us people who are Tea Party-goers are not necessarily saying we are going to vote for the Republicans automatically.  It is just not there," Holler said.

Nevada Democrats are closely watching the Tea Party movement, trying to gauge its impact on this year's congressional elections.

Democrat Paul Schmier does not like what he sees. "I feel their violent attitude is not healthy for anybody, Republican or Democrat," Schmier said.

Political analysts are divided about whether the Tea Party movement will become a political party to compete with the Democrats and Republicans.

"They have kind of realized that the third party route is not a winner.  So I think you have seen this more or less agreement among the different groups here that we are going to try to remake the Republican Party, starting at the grass roots," David Damore explained. He is a political scientist at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.

Experts say Tea Party activists could complicate the November congressional elections if they run their own candidates to compete with Republican and Democratic candidates.  Analysts say that would likely take votes away from Republicans and help Democrats.

"If they were to operate outside the framework of the Republican Party and run their own candidates, then that would be a problem for the Republicans," Peter Brown, Quinnipiac University pollster stated. "If they participate in Republican primaries, then that necessarily could be a help to the Republican Party."

In the meantime, conservative Republican candidates across the country are eagerly trying to embrace the Tea Party movement and tap into its energy, hopeful that enthusiasm will bring them victory on Election Day in November.

Related Report by VOA's Kane Farabaugh

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs