Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Anti-Incumbent Fever Catches On – the Long Hot Summer of Discontent - Tea Party Expansion

What began as small pockets of individuals meeting in groups and venting their frustrations over high taxes and Congressional Representatives that either failed to listen, or disparaged those who dared to question the wisdom of deficit spending of historical proportions has morphed into a viable political force – the Tea Party. The Tea Party has fielded and supported candidates for both the House and the Senate across the country, and those candidates are not recessing for the summer. One will hear about a group of “angry white men”, yet when looking at the Tea Party on a local basis, one finds that the opposite is true – not only are tea party groups inclusive of all ethnicity's and races, they are also inclusive on all political affiliations - the most prominent being those “unenrolled” or “independents” who previously felt neither major political party had what the individual was seeking.
What is it that Tea Party members are seeking in a candidate? The seek a candidate who offers strict adherence to the Constitution, someone who has worked for a living and understands the needs of the average American, someone who is fiscally responsible and believes in a balanced budget and, most importantly, tax cuts. Those members are specifically interested in someone who has not set foot in Washington DC. Yet, they are not exclusive to members of their own Party, they will support candidates who echo their core principals, which most often are registered Republicans.

The wisdom that has, for generations, pervaded the political class, is that of “experience”. For example, ads will run in Congressional races touting the 3, 4, or 10 terms a Congressional Representative and/or Senator has served; noting that they hold the keys to more benefits for their respective states due to their appointments to high profile committees. Candidates that ran against incumbents in the past, faced grilling from Editorial Boards and journalists, (and still do), about their “lack of experience”. Today, however, that lack of experience is particularly appealing to a growing block of voters, many of which have never attended a Tea Party meet-up and/or know all that much about the party.
The new wisdom is, simply put, if someone cannot get a house in order in a specific amount of time, or has consistently voted against the wishes of their constituents, or has voted for spending measures, then they are no longer considered a viable candidate and therefore, should be replaced, preferably by someone who has never served in the Congress. A true citizen legislature is what is sought by a growing body of voters – Tea Party or Democrat, or Green Party or Libertarian or Republican.
The dissatisfaction with the current two-party system did not begin, as one would be led to believe, as a response to the election of Barak Obama, and his policies which mirror those of former President Jimmy Carter, it began when the individual noticed they had no choice at the ballot box in each and every election – by that – most incumbents ran unopposed, and or opposition candidates were so few and far between with little funding, no media attention and a lack of cohesive support. Massachusetts, for example, has for years been considered the “Bluest State” simply because Democrats dominated all aspects of politics in the state, from the local and state level to the few Federal seats available - the logic followed, that no Republican could get elected in the State. Massachusetts was not an anomaly, other states followed suit, and the entire Northeast looked to be a sea of Blue with each election cycle.

This change began to evidence itself in 2006 and 2008, when additional candidates began to appear on the ballots, where none had appeared before – from California’s 8th District to the 4th District of Massachusetts – these individuals ran against deeply entrenched politicians and were immediately dismissed by both the media and the electorate – however, the later did not dismiss them entirely, with the candidate receiving at the least a percentage of the votes – giving those who were tired of seeing the same name on the ballot an option, which gave them hope for the future.

In Massachusetts, in 2008 and 2009, individuals began to look at public service, doctors, landscapers, and those who served in the military. In January of 2010, one Scott Brown became the first Republican elected to the Senate from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and it shocked the political establishment – who immediately dismissed his election as a “fluke” – blaming Martha Coakley, the Democrat who ran as opposition, for running a shoddy campaign. “They” didn’t get it. Had the media done its research they would have found established anti-incumbent candidates who had formed committees and were ready to run for Congress, the State Senate and the State Legislature.

The Tea Party, a response to the high taxes imposed on U.S. Citizens, began to throw support to these candidates, and has also begun to field candidates of its own.
Words of wisdom from an 86 year old unenrolled voter from the Bay State, who is not affiliated with the Tea Party – but understands the basics of economics gone astray – those currently in office do not deserve to be reelected, ordinary people can do a better job. The intent: to vote for anyone who is not an incumbent. That one older individual is not alone, younger voters, Hispanic voters, the individuals who have had enough, are looking forward to November and the opportunity to vote for the anti-incumbent. Democrats in Massachusetts specifically, are looking to voting for Republican’s for the first time since January 19th, 2010. One coined it, a Revolution, a Silent Revolution at the Ballot Box.

Therefore, when candidates who are either endorsed by or directly fielded by a Tea Party, hold a rally, they draw a crowd. One such that bears mentioning is one Allen West Allen West for Congress West, a candidate for the Florida 22nd, is one of the anti-incumbents to watch. According to the FEC West has to date, raised $2,065,855, while Ron Klein, the incumbent Democrat, has managed to raise $1,860,453 . The fact that West, in a District that leans Democrat, is doing so well with individual contributions at this stage of the game, speaks volumes. A 4th of July You Tube video of West is shown below. It is evident, by his speech, how the population in general views the 2010 election.

In fact, as the days progress, deeply entrenched politicians who were previously considered “untouchable” are now facing opposition – a newly released AP Article speaks to the problems faced by Russ Feingold this election cycle. This would not have been part of the political conversation two years ago.

As the Tea Party grows, and more importantly, the sentiment of the voters aligns with Tea Party principals, going into November on can envision a new Congress forming, one which will hold a few incumbents, and those who were voted in as anti-incumbents which will be in Washington to hold everyone accountable to this and future generations.

Adam West, Florida 22nd District Candidate, Speaking Before a Ft. Lauderdale Tea Party

1 comment:

d.eris said...

"candidates who echo their core principals, which most often are registered Republicans."

This is highly dubious. Republicans and the Republican party have no respect for the constitution, the Republican party is working hand in hand with the Democrats to turn this country into a police state, they have been for decades. Like the Democrats that are also more often than not simply puppets for multi-national corporate interests. Sure, under Bush Republicans passed tax cuts, but then they funded two wars and the prescription drug benefit on the national credit card.

True freedom and independence today begins with freedom and independence from the Republican and Democratic Parties.

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