Ten Signs the Tea Party is Dead

Ten Signs the Tea Party is Dead


When the Tea Party-fueled GOP took over the House by storm in January of 2010 there was high talk of huge change.  Exactly a year later, there are signs that the underlying political force behind the House flipping in 2010, the Tea Party, is all but dead.

Need evidence the Tea Party is all but dead? The polls and the vote counts keep rolling in.  In politics, winning and votes are what measure influence and power. When applied today, those measuring sticks reveal a weak if not dead political movement that hit its height during the summer of 2009.  Today the loud “in your face” town halls are gone.  More importantly: So are the candidates.

Ten Signs the Tea Party Is dead:

1.  Disappearing Heroes:  In 2010, Tea heroine Christine O’Donnell lost 56% to 40% to Sen. Chris Coons — then swiftly disappeared … and then endorsed Mitt Romney. What’s Sarah Palin up to now? Does her endorsement matter? Where are Joe Miller and Sharron Angle?

2. Tea Party Gov. Scott Walker Faces Recall:  Those wishing to recall Tea Party Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker needed 700,000 signatures to put the recall in play.  They collected over a million.

Walker rode the Tea Party wave into the Governor’s mansion in 2010, the same year the Tea Party driven GOP took over the House.  Now Gov. Walker is staring straight into the face of political headwinds blowing hard in the opposite direction.  Other Tea Governors continue to impress with historically low approval numbers.  Swing state Govs. Rick Scott of Florida and John Kasich of Ohio are examples.

3.  Congressional approval ratings:  As the polls roll in it is crystal clear: the House is in the throes of their most unpopular period in at least 50 years. Congressional approval numbers were never anything to brag about.  But when did they freefall to historic lows? In the eighth months the GOP Tea Party filled House fought over the debt ceiling.  Everyone knows Congress is broken in an endless get-nothing-done cycle of gridlock.  But the polls indicate who the public specifically blames:  House Republicans.  It was after the GOP won the majority in the House that congressional approval ratings hit their lowest point in American history.

4.  Tea Candidates for the White House Tank:  House Tea Party Caucus founder and Chair Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) only received 5% of the vote in Iowa and received 23,934 votes less than a Senator who lost his seat 6 years ago by 708,000 votes.  The other Tea Party candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, received 92,000 votes less than Mitt Romney and 40,000 less than moderate Jon Huntsman in the “live free or die” state.

5. Florida Tea Party Convention No-Shows : Not even Tea Party Florida Gov. Rick Scott attended the Florida Tea Party Convention in November 2011  —  he cancelled last minute.  Florida Tea Party hero Sen. Marco Rubio did the same.  The 3-day convention had no high profile conservatives in attendance.  Could this have happened in early 2010?

6. Capitulation and Defeat: Has “ObamaCare” been repealed? No. Did the Balance Budget Amendment pass? No. Did the Ryan Budget pass? No. In the midst of the payroll tax fight, the talking-loud-and-passing-nothing-into-law Tea Party members released statements like:  “I am disappointed that our Republican leadership in both the House and Senate chose a course of political expediency rather than standing on conservative principle.”  More importantly: The Tea Party has failed to find a way to leverage power and move legislation through both the House and the Senate and onto the President’s desk.  Even Newt Gingrich figured out a way to do that with a Democrat in the White House.

7. GOP Town Halls Disappear:  In September 2011 there may have been more cops than constituents at House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) Richmond town hall. That town hall required an “invite.” Two hundred “uninvited” protesters appeared outside.  Last April, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) discovered he couldn’t hold a town hall without police protection.  A few cops by the door is one thing.  Having to leave through a back door and being driven in a police car is another.  That’s what happened to Ryan in April 2011 almost exactly a year after Congressional Democrats pushed through Health Care reform legislation.  All the Tea Talk demanding public officials “listening to the people” has vanished.

8.  Ohio voters repeal measure to stifle collective bargaining for public employees:  Last November a move made by yet another over-reaching Tea Party governor, Ohio’s John Kasich, was repealed.  Seven hundred thousand signatures were collected to get the measure on the ballot.  Four hundred thousand public employees would have been denied the right to strike and collectively bargain had the measure become law.

9.  Remember all those big rallies? September 12, 2009 anyone? The massive November 5, 2009 rally in Washington D.C. to protest the health care bill?  The people around the Capitol the week of March 14th during the final week of debate on health care reform?  Where is all that now?

10.  The House Tea Party “One and Done” List Lengthens: Remember the names of Reps. Blake Farenthold, Joe Walsh, Robert Dold, Bobby Schilling, Adam Kinzinger and Allen West.  Refer back to this list again in January 2013 and ask yourself:  How many of these people are still in Congress.

LAUREN VICTORIA BURKE, Politic365 Chief Congressional Correspondent, publishes the blog Crewof42 on the Congressional Black Caucus.  She is heard every Tuesday on WMCS 1290 in Milwaukee on Earl Ingram’s show The Evening Rush as well as on WHUR and WPFW in Washington DC. You can follow her on twitter at @crewof42


  1. Yes, the neo con pro war Tea party has no influence, but the infowars, anti war Tea Party has the original Godfather himself- Ron Paul- making waves in the presidential primary.

    • Its' true.. this author has no clue that these are not real tea parties. As for Gingrich being endorsed by multiple ‘Tea Party leaders’ in South Carolina, we question the authenticity of those groups. One is led by a person named Judson Phillips who formed his group in 2009 as a GOP PAC and called it “Tea Party Nation”(fully two years after the Tea Party actually began) Phillips has been sending out voter guides under the TPN name. These guides contain incorrect information about the positions of the other candidates but he refuses to correct them.

      “Tea Party Patriots” whose banner was flashed on the screen during the SC debate, are also NOT an original Tea Party. They are a GOP PAC that started up in 2009 long after the real Tea Party movement began. Recently, Jenny Beth Martin sent mailers to NH voters soliciting $10M for her 'travel expenses'.

      Real Tea Parties are a movement and they don't form PACS to collect money or endorse candidates.

      They do however, educate and inform. Some of our groups have created an excellent voter guide that is much more well-researched and accurate than what can be found being distributed by groups with an agenda.

      • Not to quibble, but you say "Real Tea Parties are a movement" implying, I suppose, that you have no leaders or structure? That means there also aren't rules for what constitutes a RTP, or even what position any group wants to take. Initially I thought there might be some real contributions; not now though. I read a wide gaggle of news items every day; and I promise you that on any given day, there might be ten different positions being exhorted by ten different tea parties, none of them similar in any way. Personally I think the best thing about Judson Phillips is his complete inanity and inefficiency — if he had five more brain cells he might be a danger. But nevertheless — he does have followers, he calls his group a tea party, and so it is. Just not your tea party. As Gingrich, Bachmann and Cain have all discovered, organization can be a good thing sometimes.

      • The responses in support of it here are proof enough me thinks! Just because those supports do not dedicate on police cars and trash public and private areas like the liberal supporters does not mean it is "dead." just means some have to work to pay for liberal laziness.

  2. Rupert Murdoch, during his stint as Director of Philip Morris Tobacco Company directed, ordered, his contractors Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch to use their front organizations paid millions of dollars by the Tobacco Racketeers to create the Tea Party ruckus. Murdoch was also director of Koch-Co-Founded CATO INSTITUTE at the same time period, sitting on the Board of Directors next to David Koch.. Koch "Citizens For A Sound Economy" (CSE) is on record receiving millions per year in tobacco money as the Tobacco Mafia tried to equate regulating tobacco serial murders with "big govt" and "excessive regulations".

    The earliest scheming in the records to create a "T party" (T for Tobacco and Taxes) is 1984, but the idea was too good to abandon. By 1991 it was trialed across Canada. By August 21, 2001 the Citizens For A Sound Economy had a "Tar Heels Tea Party" throwing tea bags and being unruly in the North Carolina state capitol building. By 2002 through 2005 the CSE.org website ran the USTEAPARTY.COM website on it's own servers. This is while George Bush was serving his first term, and they already had "taken their country back."
    http://teapy.blogspot.com/ http://organized-crime-tea-party.blogspot.com/201http://koch-murdoch-axis.blogspot.com/ http://koch-murdoch-axis.blogspot.com/2011/12/pro

  3. […] Ten Signs the Tea Party is DeadPolitic365When the Tea Party-fueled GOP took over the House by storm in January of 2010 there was high talk of huge change. Exactly a year later, there are signs that the underlying political force behind the House flipping in 2010, the Tea Party, …LETTER: Recall drives Walker's regretSuperior Telegramall 3 news articles » […]

  4. […] Ten Signs the Tea Party is DeadPolitic365When the Tea Party-fueled GOP took over the House by storm in January of 2010 there was high talk of huge change. Exactly a year later, there are signs that the underlying political force behind the House flipping in 2010, the Tea Party, …LETTER: Recall drives Walker's regretSuperior Telegramall 2 news articles » […]

  5. If the Tea Party was dead, the press would not be mentioning them every day. They confound liberals, because liberals can not use their standard attack methods on them, to discredit them, because they are not a traditional party, they are the non-party, without centralized control, so there is no real person or group to attack. Liberals are shadow boxing with a ghost. Most of the people that attended Tea Party rallies a couple years ago were typically non-political, with no special interest groups or politicians in control of them. The people are still there and I'm guessing they vote in 2012.

  6. Ha, ha, well I guess the tea party will stay alive as long as the Koch brothers Rupert Murdock keep paying the way, buying off the cops, sucking up to the wealthy, robbing the working class and poor, one problem is the teaparty people don't even know they are just being taken advantage of.