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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid