Updated: Dec 28, 2020
You might be in for a bit of a surprise with this article as the name makes one imagine the typical ‘afternoon tea party’ but it is in fact referring to a political party which took rise in America by the name of “Tea Party”.
When did this party assemble and rise? The political scenario of the United States of America witnessed the rise of a conservative populist social movement, the Tea Party in 2009. On this day, people in thousands gathered at the national mall to protest the tax and expenditure policies, intervention in the private sector, and strict immigration directions of the Obama government. It was not the first time that such a political party has risen in the States, but there are several instances when people took to the streets to voice their opinions. Let us take a look at a brief history of this political movement.
The Beginning Of The Tea Party
Populist movements are not new to the United States of America. There are instances of people forming such groups in the 1860s, 70s, 90s, and the 1930s to protest against various hardships. However, this Tea Party was formed after the 2008 financial crisis. It all started with one media channel professional's call for the need for a Chicago tea party. This professional's video clip became viral on the internet and evoked people to come out in numbers to protest against the then-President Barack Obama's administration.
It only needed a few weeks for this movement to spread in various parts of the country. The party took social media by storm to spread its propaganda. Even some of the Republicans were also drawn to this party. Several anti-government bodies, such as the militia movement, also joined hands with the Tea Party. The party targeted Obama with several allegations to prove that he was not worthy of being the nation's leader.
The Tea Party made its presence felt first on April 15, 2009. They set out on a massive rally, which involved more than 250,000 people. The significance of the date for such an enormous gathering is that it was the deadline for filing income tax returns. On this day, it was revealed that 'Tea' was an acronym for "Taxed Enough Already". The movement grew large in that year and gathered at congressional town halls to protest on various issues, which, according to them, were going wrong.
Even after massive demonstrations, there was no clear leader for the Tea Party. However, Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice presidential nominee, after she had resigned from the post of the Governor of Alaska in 2009, acted as an unofficial spokesperson for the party. Former Republican House majority leader Dick Armey looked after the logistical provision for the gatherings of the party. There were people within the Republican Party, like Sen. Jim DeMint, who supported Tea Party candidates. Glen Beck, Fox News personality, is quite famous with the Tea Partiers, but he also does not lead the movement.
When Did the Tea Party Come To Power?
During the 2010 midterm elections, the party successfully gained 60 seats in the House of Representatives. This win led to a Republican majority and gave a Republican Speaker of the House- John Boehner. This election increased the power of the Republicans, and they cleared the Bush tax cuts' extension going against the then administration of President Obama.
Tea Party's Focus On Economy
The contemporary systems of the Tea Party have three basic principles. They are:
1. Fiscal Responsibility
2. Limited Government
3. Free Markets
This party is quite outspoken about its anger towards the White House and the Congress. Although the party's roots are conservative social beliefs, it has an economic outlook. The Tea partiers favor the Republicans, but they also feel that they have been deserted by the latter.
Future Aspirations Of Tea Party
Even though the Tea Party is quite vocal about its opinions against the federal government, it has no ambition to become a third party officially. It does not even aspire to become a legal, political institution. However, it only aims to impact the already existing parties.
The party is more like a network connecting groups with similar interests and thus does not adhere to centralized power. It is also noteworthy that all the groups have their own identities and priorities in their local domain, making them tough as nails.
According to several polls, the Tea Party mostly consisted of white older men and is also accused of racism and xenophobia. However, most of the members have denied all such allegations.
Technology- The Tea Party Base
Technology has played a significant role in the formation of the 2009 Tea Party. It was through Twitter that many of the original members of the party had first met. With social media's tremendous help, it made it possible for the party to organize their rallies on a meager budget, which would not have been possible in the days before emails, free conference calling, and many more such services.
The Idea Behind Tea Party
The party followers are the second amendment supporters and follow the values of the 7th United States President Andrew Jackson, which is courage, loyalty, self-reliance, and individualism. This party is believed to be anti-elitist as they oppose the federal taxes and policies, which, according to them, has affected small businesses and the enterprising essence that helped build America. Tea Party is also of the opinion that ordinary folks can make better decisions than any expert.
On the other hand, several party members follow Reaganomics, which believed that low taxes could invigorate more demand and replace lost tax revenues.
Advocates Of Tea Party
According to speculations, David H. Koch, the head of Americans for Prosperity, started the movement in collaboration with FreedomWorks. Another significant promoter of the party is the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition, co-founded by former White House speechwriter Michael Johns. Even Fox News personality Glen Beck is considered significant in the propagation of the Tea Party.
The Tea party in America has had a considerable impact on its political scenario and has gathered more than thousands along with it. The party is strictly against federal tax systems and policies. The low budget party does not operate on the orders of one centralized power, but as a small individual group system, making it difficult to break down by any external force. We hope we have been able to give a fair idea about the Tea Party in America.