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

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers 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.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid