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Published on February 12th, 2013

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The Future of the Tea Party



Fast forward to 2013. The Tea Party movement doesn’t lack for heavyweight contenders—Ryan and Perry may seek the presidency in 2016; newly-elected Texas Sen. Ted Cruz could emerge as a strong voice as the GOP remolds its image; in Indiana, incoming Gov. Mike Pence is, like Cruz, already a Tea Party favorite (“a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order,” Pence describes himself). Pence is seeking a 10 percent cut in his state’s income tax rate and budget austerity.

Despite those seeming gains, the Tea Party suffers from a malady that goes with losing elections and intellectual dogfights: brand popularity. A CNN-ORC poll from late 2012 showed that 50 percent of Americans now view the movement unfavorably, compared to only 32 percent who approve of it. By contrast, the movement’s unpopularity stood at 40 percent in August 2011, according to a CBS/New York Times poll.

In politics, numbers don’t lie, and those poll numbers indicate a movement in need of image repair—to say nothing of a political win. What course should Tea Partiers take? In the 1990s, America’s ballot-box rebellion died quickly when a grassroots rebellion took the form of an organized party, which, it turned out, wasn’t all that organized. Twenty years later, there’s no immediate sign of the Tea Party coalescing behind a single leader, and no serious talk of the movement becoming something more structured, more permanent.

Source: Defining Ideas. Read entire article. (link)

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