From a March on Washington circa 2010 - The Tea Party - image realhonestthinking.com
When one thinks of political parties in the United States, two come to mind, the Democrats and the Republicans, there are “fringe” parties, or smaller parties who are on ballots from time to time, and hold conventions, but gain little traction. The reasoning is myriad, but the opportunity for the American Public to enjoy a true Democratic Republic is not an option without more choice when it comes to sending elected officials off to do the people’s bidding in Washington, in the State Capital, and now with polarization so deep, in the City Council. It is not as if there hasn’t been talk of a third party, nor is it a fact that third parties don’t exist, they do, but the conventional wisdom also exists that if a third party candidate wants to gain traction, that candidate must “attach” themselves to one of the major parties in order to get elected.
The Libertarian party has been around for a while, membership has increased since its founding in 1971. The Libertarian principals are a mix of left and right, fiscal conservatism, with an anti-war message that should resonate with the public to a greater degree, but the most visible Libertarian this past election cycle, was Republican Congressman, Ron Paul.
Ron Paul, a Libertarian, had run as a Republican, and remained solidly Libertarian while doing so; yet, fell into the trap of attaching himself to one of the major political parties.
Recently, former Presidential Candidate Herman Cain called for the formation of third party:
The former pizza executive figures that it’s possible to link up with a few other people uncomfortable with President Barack Obama:(Atlanta Journal Constitution)
“There are just as many disgruntled Democrats, that would probably be a part of this movement, as there are Republicans who are sick of the political class. So I think it is more viable today than it has ever been.”
Herman Cain is right, there are disgruntled Democrats, Republican’s, Green Party and Libertarian Party members and those “unenrolled” or independents voters who are fed up with the two party systems, but where to go from here?
Herman Cain suggests that ”a large faction of Republican Party leaders to desert the party and form a third, more conservative party.” (Outside the Beltway), which would be an extensions of the Republican Party, but it is an option, if those ‘Party Leaders” could be pried from the main party, and give up all the perks associated with a major political party. That’s a tall-order.
Especially when there is a ‘party in waiting’, so to speak, one that has been vilified in the press, and specifically by the Democrats, used by the Republican Party and then maligned by that same body – the Tea Party.
The Tea Party is a cobbled group of three or four main bodies, which members of these Tea Party’s are in all fifty states. But, and here’s the but, they are not, for the most part, political in nature, rather observers at this point, even if they have tea party members who are now elected officials, they are elected officials that are also Republicans! Here we go again!
It would take some time for these similar yet competing interest to form a coalition, and get the party organized – and they can do it, down to the prescient level, and in short order.
The Tea Party is full of as many “crazy” people as is the Republican Party or the Democrat Party, or name a party, but those who are on the fringe are held up as the norm and nothing could be further from the truth.
Tea Party meetings tend to generate interest, and those that appear tend to be independents, disgruntled Republican’s, Disgruntled Democrats, Libertarians, and a host of small regional party members.
The Tea Party, in other words, has the bodies on the ground, and the wherewithal to raise the funds, to organize to the precinct level, get Tea Party Candidates, on the ballot in every state, also within short order.
It takes leadership, and it takes work and gumption, and that is in abundant supply in the various tea party groups around the country. They need to stop running as Republican’s, divest themselves of the stigma, and run on their own. (They also need to stop running as Democrats, as that’s the other pathway to the office taken in States where there’s an abundance of Democrats.)
All of the above referenced call themselves “movements’, rather than a Political Party, enjoying the “clout” of electing individuals to office (Republican cover), the move to being an official party, given the scope of the organizations, would not be t the 20 year recognition project that has stymied the growth of the Libertarian Party.
The Elephant in the Room - The common misconception is that if the Tea Party were to go out on its own, so to speak, it would pull voters away from the Republican Party and allow the Democrats to win. Perhaps, but then again, perhaps it would also attract those Democrats who are already members of the Tea Party (see disgruntled) and would be attracted to the Tea Party platform of fiscal conservativism, and individual liberty. They are anti-over-taxation.
What if the Tea Party evolved and ran for state and local offices? They might win, given the organization and messaging that is more inclusive than exclusive. Without taking the chance, and that goes for any organization that is considering the formation of third party, the present system will remain. Is that acceptable?
If one is in Massachusetts, there is a list of Tea Party organizations one can either join, or visit to find out more about how crazy they are not: MassTea Party.org