Archives: It’s game over for the Tea Party

Originally published in November 2012
Simon Nguyen

COMMENTARY | For Republicans, Mitt Romney’s defeat was not the only big story on Election Day. A number of tea party-endorsed candidates were also defeated. These results are a clear indictment of the radical ideology of tea partiers and will ultimately bring an end to this political movement.

The tea party has always been overrated as a national movement. There is a reason why all of the movement’s successes thus far have been in the Republican primaries. Most tea partiers support Republican candidates and vote in GOP primaries. The tea party is nothing more than an extremely conservative group within the Republican Party.

One could argue that the tea party has consistently ruined Republican chances of capturing both houses of Congress by propping up low-quality candidates like Christine O'Donnell, Sharron Angle, Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock. In the case of Sharron Angle, the Republicans blew a big opportunity to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who is one of Obama’s biggest allies.

The tea party often claims credit for the Republican congressional victory in 2010. However, reality told a different story. The two biggest factors in the 2010 elections were the weak economy and the president’s controversial health care legislation. With or without loud noises from tea partiers, American voters were likely to vote for the opposition party anyway to send a message to Obama and the Democrats. Case in point, the tea party did not exist in 1994 when frustrated voters gave Newt Gingrich and the Republicans control of Congress. 

There are signs that moderate Republicans are starting to move toward shredding tea party’s influence from their party. In a press conference after the elections, House Speaker John Boehner expressed a reconciliatory tone and a willingness to work with the president – a move that is bound to be unpopular with tea partiers. Steve LaTourette, another moderate Republican, openly criticized the tea party and blamed it for the GOP’s defeat in an interview with CNN.

The future of the tea party in American politics is not very bright.

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