Amid the Great Recession, passage of the federal stimulus package in February 2009 sparked a fire of discontent that spread rapidly across the country.
Fanned by bank bailouts and health-care legislation, what began as protests became a movement. Less than two years later, a federation of tea-party groups across the U.S. has become a potent political force united in distaste for taxes, big government, big spending, and the political elite.
"It's a mixture of conservative ideology, a return to founding principles, and this really vehement anti-establishment piece -- and all three of those strands have come together and given this its scope of power," said Daniel Palazzolo, a professor of political science at the University of Richmond.
"I don't think people expected it to grow this large and be this influential."
Palazzolo said the tea party's growing popularity does not surprise him, but he called the difference it has made in the midterm primaries "kind of unprecedented." He added that part of the movement's success "has to do with the fact that the Democrats have not offered a very strong counterweight to it."
And while some Republican insiders worry that the tea party could splinter the vote in November, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released last week showed that 71 percent of Republicans supported the movement.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Tea Party and the Midterm
The post-election version of our textbook will discuss the "tea party" movement.
The Culpepper (VA) Star-Exponent reports: