February 6, 2012 3 Comments
“The Tea Party movement is dead. It’s gone,” says Chris Littleton, the cofounder of the Ohio Liberty Council, a statewide coalition of Tea Party groups in Ohio. “I think largely the Tea Party is irrelevant in the primaries. They aren’t passionate about any of the candidates, and if they are passionate, they’re for Ron Paul.”
I wouldn’t say the Tea Party is dead. As far as it being a popular political movement, sparking protests, rallies, and changing the political game–yes. That game is up for the Tea Party.
As it is right now, the Tea Party is a Republican Party boogeyman. It’s a demographic within the GOP to be feared and pandered to. It shapes the message of Republican candidates and office-holders.
However, the problem is, the Republican Party already has a boogeyman to be feared: the Religious Right. The RR has had a stronghold in the party for years now, and it’s not going to relinquish its status as the Demographic That Must Be Pleased, or else it is the end of your legislation, your message, and your political career.
The Republican Party is struggling right now. It’s doing this awkward shuffle-dance to try to appeal to both demographics at once, with embarrassing results. Both demographics are competing for supremacy within the GOP, and the results are yet to be seen–hence, Republican candidates are playing to both sides, waiting to see which demographic will come out on top, and subsequently appearing lukewarm and somewhat repellant to both sides.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t conservatives and Republicans that identify with both the Religious Right and the Tea Party–there certainly are. This also alters the appearance of both groups, to a certain extent.
Until this power struggle has come to an end, the GOP isn’t going to be able to fully unite and face off against the Democrats. Republicans are fighting a war on two fronts–and it doesn’t look like there’s going to be any agreement in time for the Presidential election later this year.