News / USA

    US Republicans Embrace Tea Party

    2010 is a congressional election year in the United States, and political experts are keeping close watch on a grassroots conservative movement known as the Tea Party.  Tea Party supporters favor a limited role for the central government and are fierce critics of President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress.  A growing number of congressional Republicans are embracing the Tea Party.  

    Think of the Tea Party as a political movement, not a formal political party.  Tea Party supporters want to reduce taxes and government spending and in general want to limit the role of the federal government.

    The Tea Party movement gained momentum during last year's debate over President Obama's health care reform plan, a debate that played out in numerous rallies and angry town hall meetings across the country.

    Opposition Republicans believe that harnessing the energy and grassroots organizing success of the Tea Party movement will carry them to victory in this year's midterm congressional elections.

    With that in mind, about 30 Republicans in the House of Representatives came together recently to form the House Tea Party Caucus, a group that will push the Tea Party agenda of limited government in the halls of Congress.

    Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota is leading the effort.

    "They represent mainstream American people who have decided to get up off the couch because they want to take their country back," said Michele Bachmann. "They believe that we are taxed enough already, that the federal government should not spend more money than it takes in, and that Congress should act within the constitutional limitations as given to us by the Founding Fathers."

    A recent poll by Democratic political strategists Stan Greenberg and James Carville found that Tea Party supporters are energized about this year's congressional elections and eager to help Republicans reclaim control of one or both houses of Congress.

    Greenberg says the survey found a high number of Tea Party supporters among those who consider themselves likely voters in this year's elections.

    "They will have an impact in this election," said Stan Greenberg. "They are 25 percent of the electorate [among likely voters], you know, self-identify as strong Tea Party supporters.  That is a big number.  Ninety-two percent disapprove of Obama's performance, 89 percent strongly."

    Greenberg says the Tea Party movement at its core is a grassroots network of conservative activists usually inclined to vote Republican.

    "It is not independent, it is not populist, it is not a populist revolt against the elites, it is not a working class revolt rooted in frustration with the recession, Wall Street and government," he said. "This is a grassroots movement within the Republican Party that is having a great impact on the party and beyond."

    Republicans see the energy of the Tea Party movement as a key to victory this year.  But Greenberg says the Tea Party has plenty of critics as well, including a few moderate Republicans, who see the movement as too extreme and hostile to minorities and immigrants.

    "Once you get beyond the Tea Party supporters themselves, it is not that popular," said Greenberg. "There is a majority who view them as extreme.  And when you get beyond the Tea Party supporters themselves, there is an even split on whether their motivation is a racial animosity to President Obama."

    One of the country's leading civil rights organizations, the NAACP, recently called on Tea Party leaders to repudiate racist elements within their own ranks.  The National Tea Party Federation did expel the leader of one group over what it regarded as a racist blog post.

    And Tea Party organizers are also highlighting the participation of minority members like Danielle Hollars, an African-American Army veteran from Virginia.

    "I am here because I want to tell America that we are not terrorists, we are not racist," said Danielle Hollars. "We are Americans who care about our country and the future for our children and our grandchildren."

    Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is a favorite among Tea Party supporters, second only in popularity to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the Republican Party's vice presidential nominee in 2008.

    Palin was the featured speaker at the first Tea Party convention earlier this year and some political experts believe Palin could use her base of support within the Tea Party movement to launch a campaign for president in 2012.


    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    You May Like

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Goodbye Ketchup, Hello Sriracha!

    How immigrants are triggering a great transformation in American cuisine

    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.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora