News / USA

Tea Party Shakes, Shapes US Politics

Greg Flakus

Protests against Wall Street and economic inequality have grown in New York, Washington and other U.S. cities, as citizens speak out against corporate interests.  These protests in some ways mirror the rise of the so-called "Tea Party" movement two years ago.  The Tea Party wants to cut taxes and reduce the size of the central government, and it now plays a major role in the battle for the Republican Party's presidential nomination. It has influence, but it remains a loosely-organized movement with no central leadership.

The first Tea Party rallies drew a lot of people who had never been involved in politics.  The Tea Party expressed public anger over the 2008 economic crisis, the government bailout of large banks and the growing national debt.  

But it remains a loose-knit movement, with no one leader.  The majority of Tea Party supporters are middle class, non-Hispanic whites.

However, presidential candidate Herman Cain is very popular in the Tea Party and black Americans who do show up at rallies are often among the most vocal participants.

Anita Moncrief once worked with a community organizing group that supported President Barack Obama, but now rejects government social programs.

"We are teaching to celebrate prosperity and capitalism and that is the only pathway out of poverty that is viable," said Moncrief.

In past elections, conservatives focused on issues like abortion and gay marriage, but Tea Party supporter Amy Long says the nation's fiscal health is paramount.

"I care about the social issues and that is great, but now is not the time, I think, that I need the perfect candidate," said Long.  "I just want someone to get in there and get us out of debt."

Rice University political science professor Mark Jones says the Tea Party has drawn the lines for next year's presidential contest by clamoring for deficit reduction, but rejecting Democrat Party calls for increased revenue.  He says the movement's ability to rally large numbers of voters gives it a special hold on the Republican Party.

"The Tea Party groups are so prominent within there and have such strong mobilization capabilities that many even centrist Republicans are wary of alienating them," explained Professor Mark Jones of Rice University.  But Jones adds that Tea Party pressure on Republicans to reject compromise gives President Obama a strong card to play with moderate voters.

"He can say that these Republican extremists, out of fear of the Tea Party, 'have blocked all my efforts to improve the economy,'" noted Jones.

And, although a majority of voters worry about the deficit and growing debt, polls show they are even more concerned about economic stagnation and unemployment.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid