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The Tea Party movement


Tea Party

ENG - The Tea Party movement is a populist, conservative/libertarian, grassroots, political movement in the United States that emerged in 2009 through a series of locally and nationally coordinated protests. The protests were partially in response to several Federal laws: the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and a series of healthcare reform bills.

The name "Tea Party" echoes the Boston Tea Party, a 1773 incident when colonists destroyed British tea rather than paying what they considered a tax that violated their right to "No Taxation without Representation." As of 2010, it is not a national political party, does not officially run Congressional candidates, and its name has not appeared on any ballots.

According to pollster Scott Rasmussen, the bailouts of banks by the Bush and Obama administrations triggered the Tea Party’s rise. The interviewer adds that the movement's anger centers on two issues, quoting Rasmussen as saying, "They think federal spending, deficits and taxes are too high, and they think no one in Washington is listening to them, and that latter point is really, really important." The movement has no central leadership but is a loose affiliation of smaller local groups. The movement's primary concerns include, but are not limited to, cutting back the size of government, lowering taxes, reducing wasteful spending, reducing the national debt and federal budget deficit, and adherence to the United States Constitution.

First national Tea Party protests

On February 19, 2009, in a broadcast from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, CNBC Business News editor Rick Santelli criticized the government plan to refinance mortgages, which had just been announced the day before. He said that those plans were "promoting bad behavior" by, "subsidizing losers' mortgages." He suggested holding a tea party for traders to gather and dump the derivatives in the Chicago River on July 1. A number of the floor traders around him cheered on his proposal, to the amusement of the hosts in the studio. Santelli's "rant" became a viral video after being featured on the Drudge Report.

In response to Santelli, websites such as ChicagoTeaParty.com (registered in August 2008 by Chicago radio producer Zack Christenson) were live within 12 hours. About 10 hours after Santelli's remarks, reTeaParty.com was bought to coordinate Tea Parties scheduled for July 4 and, as of March 4, was reported to be receiving 11,000 visitors a day.

According to The New Yorker writer Ben McGrath and New York Times reporter Kate Zernike, this is where the movement was first inspired to coalesce under the collective banner of "Tea Party". By the next day, guests on Fox News had already begun to mention this new "Tea Party."

As reported by The Huffington Post, a Facebook page was developed on February 20 calling for Tea Party protests across the country. Soon, the "Nationwide Chicago Tea Party" protest was coordinated across over 40 different cities for February 27, 2009, thus establishing the first national modern Tea Party protest. The movement has been supported nationally by at least 12 prominent individuals and their associated organizations.

Views of supporters

The 2010 midterm elections demonstrated considerable skepticism within the Tea Party movement with respect to the dangers and the reality of global warming. A New York Times/CBS News Poll during the election revealed that only a small percentage of Tea Party supporters considered global warming a serious problem, much less than the portion of the general public that does. Opposition is particularly strong to Cap and Trade with Tea Party supporters vilifying Democratic office holders who supported efforts to mitigate climate change by emissions trading which would encourage use of fuels which emitted less carbon dioxide. An example is the movement's support of California Proposition 23, which would suspend AB32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

Many of the movement's members also hold conservative views on social issues such as illegal immigration. However, political analyst Dick Morris has argued that in a "fundamental change" evangelical or social issues do not dominate the Republican activists in 2010, because ""economic and fiscal issues prevail. The Tea Party has made the Republican Party safe for libertarians."

Candidates of the 2010 election cycle

In 2010 Tea Party-endorsed candidates upset established Republicans in several primaries, such as Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Nevada, New York, South Carolina and Utah, giving a new momentum to the conservative cause in the 2010 elections. In the 2010 midterm elections, the New York Times has identified 138 candidates for Congress with significant Tea Party support, and reported that all of them were running as Republicans--of whom 129 are running for the House and 9 for the Senate. The Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll in mid October showed 35% of likely voters were Tea-party supporters, and they favored the Republicans by 84% to 10%.





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