The Tea Party movement is an American political movement that advocates strict adherence to the United States Constitution, reducing U.S. government spending and taxes, and reduction of the U.S. national debt and federal budget deficit. The movement is generally considered to be partly conservative, partly libertarian, and partly populist. The movement has sponsored protests and supported political candidates since 2009.
The theme of the Boston Tea Party, an iconic event in American history, has long been used by anti-tax protesters. It was part of Tax Day protests held throughout the 1990s and earlier. By 2001, a custom had developed among some conservative activists of sending tea bags to legislators and other officials via postal mail as an act of symbolism.
According to the New York Times, "The Tea Party agenda is not well defined, though it is anti-government, anti-spending, anti-immigration and anti-compromise politics."
According to Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, America is locked in a culture war between the country as being an "exceptional nation organized around the principles of free enterprise—limited government, a reliance on entrepreneurship and rewards determined by market forces" or as a country determined by "European-style statism". Brooks states that while some have tried to criticize the tea party, they are part of an ideological movement to preserve the former and oppose the latter.
Ned Ryun, president of American Majority, an organization that offers training for many Tea Party activists, believes this movement is not about political parties, stating, "It's very much anti-establishment at both parties ... They don't care about party labels." He has also said that "I think we're getting to the point where you can truly say we're entering a post-party era. They aren't going to be necessarily wed to a certain party—they want to see leadership that reflects their values first ... They don't care what party you're in; they just want to know if you reflect their values—limited government, fixing the economy."
Contract from America
The Contract from America was the idea of Houston-based lawyer Ryan Hecker. He stated that he developed the concept of creating a grassroots call for reform prior to the April 15, 2009, Tax Day Tea Party rallies. To promote his idea, he launched a website, ContractFromAmerica.com, which encouraged people to offer possible planks for the contract.
- Identify constitutionality of every new law: Require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to do what the bill does (82.03%).
- Reject emissions trading: Stop the "cap and trade" administrative approach used to control pollution by providing economic incentives for achieving reductions in the emissions of pollutants. (72.20%).
- Demand a balanced federal budget: Begin the Constitutional amendment process to require a balanced budget with a two-thirds majority needed for any tax modification. (69.69%)
- Simplify the tax system: Adopt a simple and fair single-rate tax system by scrapping the internal revenue code and replacing it with one that is no longer than 4,543 words – the length of the original Constitution. (64.9%).
- Audit federal government agencies for constitutionality: Create a Blue Ribbon taskforce that engages in an audit of federal agencies and programs, assessing their Constitutionality, and identifying duplication, waste, ineffectiveness, and agencies and programs better left for the states or local authorities. (63.37%).
- Limit annual growth in federal spending: Impose a statutory cap limiting the annual growth in total federal spending to the sum of the inflation rate plus the percentage of population growth. (56.57%).
- Repeal the health care legislation passed on March 23, 2010: De-fund, repeal, and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. (56.39%).
- Pass an "all-of-the-above" energy policy: Authorize the exploration of additional energy reserves to reduce American dependence on foreign energy sources and reduce regulatory barriers to all other forms of energy creation. (55.5%).
- Reduce earmarks: Place a moratorium on all earmarks until the budget is balanced, and then require a two-thirds majority to pass any earmark. (55.47%).
- Reduce taxes: Permanently repeal all recent tax increases, and extend permanently the George W. Bush temporary reductions in income tax, capital gains tax, and estate taxes, currently scheduled to end in 2011. (53.38%).
The Tea Party Patriots have asked both Democrats and Republicans to sign on to the Contract. No Democrats signed on, and the contract met resistance from some Republicans who since created "Commitment to America". Candidates in the 2010 elections who signed the Contract from America included Utah's Mike Lee, Nevada's Sharron Angle, Sen. Coburn (R-OK), and Sen. DeMint (R-SC).
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In an August 2010 article for Foreign Policy magazine, Ron Paul outlined foreign policy views the Tea Party movement should emphasize: "[W]e cannot stand against big government at home while supporting it abroad. We cannot talk about fiscal responsibility while spending trillions on occupying and bullying the rest of the world ... I see tremendous opportunities for movements like the Tea Party to prosper by capitalizing on the Democrats' broken promises to overturn the George W. Bush administration's civil liberties abuses and end the disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A return to the traditional U.S. foreign policy of active private engagement but government noninterventionism is the only alternative that can restore our moral and fiscal health."
Walter Russell Mead analyzes the foreign policy views of the Tea Party movement in a 2011 essay published in Foreign Affairs. Mead says that Jacksonian populists, such as the Tea Party, combine a belief in American exceptionalism and its role in the world with skepticism of American's "ability to create a liberal world order". When necessary, they favor total war and unconditional surrender over "limited wars for limited goals". Mead identifies two main trends, one somewhat personified by Ron Paul and the other by Sarah Palin. "Paulites" have a Jeffersonian, "neo-isolationist" approach that seeks to avoid foreign military involvement. "Palinites", while seeking to avoid being drawn into unnecessary conflicts, favor a more aggressive response to maintaining America's primacy in international relations. Mead says that both groups share a distaste for "liberal internationalism".
The Tea Party movement is composed of a loose affiliation of national and local groups that determine their own platforms and agendas without central leadership. The Tea Party movement has been cited as an example of grassroots political activity, although it has also been described as an example of astroturfing.
The Tea Party movement is not a national political party; polls show that most Tea Partiers consider themselves to be Republicans and the movement's supporters have tended to endorse Republican candidates. Commentators, including Gallup editor-in-chief Frank Newport, have suggested that the movement is not a new political group but simply a re-branding of traditional Republican candidates and policies. An October 2010 Washington Post canvass of local Tea Party organizers found 87% saying "dissatisfaction with mainstream Republican Party leaders" was "an important factor in the support the group has received so far".
The Tea Party movement's membership includes notable Republican politicians Ron Paul, his son Rand Paul, Sarah Palin, Dick Armey, and Michele Bachmann. Joshua Green has said the elder Paul is not the Tea Party's founder, or its culturally resonant figure, but has become the "intellectual godfather" of the movement as many now agree with his long-held beliefs. In July 2010, Michele Bachmann formed the Tea Party Congressional Caucus, which now contains 66 members.
The name "Tea Party" is a reference to the Boston Tea Party, a protest by colonists who objected to a British tax on tea in 1773 and demonstrated by dumping British tea taken from docked ships into the harbor. Some commentators have referred to the Tea in "Tea Party" as the backronym "Taxed Enough Already".
Fox News commentator Juan Williams argues that the Tea Party movement emerged from the "ashes" of Ron Paul's 2008 presidential primary campaign. Others have argued that the Koch brothers were essential in fostering the movement.
Early local protest events
Perhaps the first "Tea Party" event on record was an event for Ron Paul dubbed "Boston TeaParty07" on December 16, 2007. This event included the throwing of boxes labeled "tea" and "IRS" among others, into the bay. This event was also notable in making online "Money Bomb" history as the largest one-day fundraising event at $6.5 million.
On January 24, 2009, Trevor Leach, chairman of the Young Americans for Liberty in New York State organized a "Tea Party" to protest obesity taxes proposed by New York Governor David Paterson and call for fiscal responsibility on the part of the government. Several of the protesters wore Native American headdresses similar to the band of 18th century colonists who dumped tea in Boston Harbor to express outrage about British taxes.
Some of 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.
New York Times journalist Kate Zernike reported that leaders within the Tea Party credit Seattle blogger and conservative activist Keli Carender with organizing the first Tea Party in February 2009, although the term "Tea Party" was not used. Other articles, written by Chris Good of The Atlantic and NPR's Martin Kaste, credit Carender as "one of the first" Tea Party organizers and state that she "organized some of the earliest Tea Party-style protests".
Carender first organized what she called a "Porkulus Protest" in Seattle on Presidents Day, February 16, the day before President Barack Obama signed the stimulus bill into law. Carender said she did it without support from outside groups or city officials. "I just got fed up and planned it." Carender said 120 people participated. "Which is amazing for the bluest of blue cities I live in, and on only four days notice! This was due to me spending the entire four days calling and emailing every person, think tank, policy center, university professors (that were sympathetic), etc. in town, and not stopping until the day came."
Contacted by Carender, Steve Beren promoted the event on his blog four days before the protest and agreed to be a speaker at the rally. Carender also contacted conservative author and Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin, and asked her to publicize the rally on her blog, which Malkin did the day before the event. The following day, the Colorado branch of Americans for Prosperity held a protest at the Colorado Capitol, also promoted by Malkin. Carender held a second protest on February 27, 2009, reporting "We more than doubled our attendance at this one."
According to pollster Scott Rasmussen, the bailouts of banks by the Bush and Obama administrations triggered the Tea Party's rise. The interviewer added 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."
First national 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.
Overnight, websites such as ChicagoTeaParty.com (registered in August 2008 by Chicagoan Zack Christenson, radio producer for conservative talk show host Milt Rosenberg,) were live within 12 hours. About 10 hours after Santelli's remarks, reTeaParty.com was bought to coordinate Tea Parties scheduled for Independence Day 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.
Fox News called many of the protests in 2009 "FNC Tax Day Tea Parties" which it promoted on air and sent speakers to. This was to include then-host Glenn Beck, though Fox came to discourage him from attending later events.
Health care bill
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Opposition to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been consistent within the Tea Party movement.
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 identified 138 candidates for Congress with significant Tea Party support, and reported that all of them were running as Republicans—of whom 129 were 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%.
However, some question the effectiveness of the Tea Party to endorse candidates; according to Alexandra Moe, only 32% of the candidates that were backed by the Tea Party, or were on a ballot line with a "Tea Party" name, won the election. Especially the Tea-party backed Senate Republican nominees for: Colorado, Nevada and Delaware, who had all defeated "establishment" Republicans that were expected to win the Senate races. The three Senate nominees were seen by many in America and the media as either amateurs or too far-out there to be electable as their positions on certain aspects were viewed as extreme.
- On January 19, 2010, Republican Scott Brown was elected as the U.S. senator from Massachusetts in the special election held after Ted Kennedy's death. The election was notable in that Massachusetts is normally a solidly pro-Democratic state. Brown received Tea Party support.
- Dean Murray, a Long Island businessman, won a special election for a New York State Assembly seat. He is believed to be the first Tea Party activist to be elected into office.
- In Utah attorney Mike Lee defeated establishment Republican U.S. Senator Bob Bennett (R-Utah) in the GOP senate primary on May 8, 2010. Lee's win is seen as a victory for the Tea Party Movement, whose supporters were against Bennett's return.
- Rand Paul, who gave a speech at the first tea party event held in December 2007 and who subsequently endorsed by other Tea Party groups, won the Super Tuesday GOP Senate primary in Kentucky. Paul, the son of Republican Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, comfortably beat Republican establishment favorite Trey Grayson with 60% of the vote, and subsequently won in the November general election. He was quoted saying, "The Tea Party Movement is about saving our country from a mountain of debt."
- In the South Carolina first Congressional District GOP Primary, Tea Party favorite Tim Scott, defeated two establishment Republicans with long family histories in Republican politics: Paul Thurmond, son of the former South Carolina U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond. and Carroll Campbell, son of former South Carolina Governor Carroll A. Campbell, Jr. Scott has spent one term in the South Carolina House, where the businessman became the first African American GOP representative in more than 100 years.
- Nikki Haley, a 38-year-old Indian-American state representative, beat out three prominent Republican rivals in the South Carolina primary race for governor, capturing 49% of the vote. She defeated the second-place finisher, U.S. Representative Gresham Barrett, in a run-off election on June 22.
- In California, Chuck DeVore, who had Tea Party backing, lost the GOP senate primary to Carly Fiorina, who had backing from Sarah Palin. But she lost on November 2, 2010, to Boxer.
- In Nevada, Sharron Angle won the U.S. Senate Republican primary race, defeating the GOP favorite, Sue Lowden, the one-time front runner. Angle was defeated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
- In Alaska, attorney Joe Miller defeated current U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, in the GOP primary race on August 24, 2010. Murkowski had been appointed to the seat by her father, Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski, who had held the Senate seat for 30 years prior to becoming governor. Murkowski remained in the election as a write-in candidate, eventually beating Miller in the general election.
- In Delaware, Tea Party-backed candidate Christine O'Donnell defeated veteran Representative Mike Castle in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate. Her victory was a surprising upset and was seen as a sign of Tea Party movement strength, even though Castle was the Republican expected to easily win the seat, whilst O'Donnell was not. O'Donnell lost the election.
- In New York, Tea Party-backed candidate Carl Paladino defeated former Representative Rick Lazio in the Republican primary for governor; in the November election he was defeated by Democrat candidate Andrew Cuomo.
- In Florida, tea party favorite Marco Rubio defeated Independent and sitting governor Charlie Crist for the U.S. Senate seat.
- In Colorado, tea party favorite Ken Buck won the GOP Senate primary, defeating Republican establishment candidate Lt. Governor Jane Norton, which caused controversy especially over Buck's stance on abortion. In the November general election, Buck was defeated by Senator Michael Bennet.
Allegations of Democratic candidates planting "fake" Tea Party candidates have surfaced in Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
- In February 2011, the Tea Party Patriots organized and hosted the American Policy Summit in Phoenix, Arizona. The 1,600 attendees were polled regarding their preference for a 2012 presidential candidate. Herman Cain, the first of the 2012 candidates to form a presidential exploratory committee, won the poll with 22%. Runners up were Tim Pawlenty (16%), Ron Paul (15%) and Sarah Palin (10%). Ron Paul won the Summit's online poll.
- In September 2011, CNN and Tea Party Express co-hosted a Republican primary debate among presidential candidates which featured questions from various Tea Party groups.
- In April 2012, Sen. Orrin Hatch, seeking renomination, received less than 60% of the vote of the Utah state Republican convention, forcing a primary election. Hatch easily defeated the Tea Party candidate Dan Liljenquist 
- With an endorsement from Sarah Palin and the help of the Tea Party, Nebraska's Deb Fischer pulled off an upset victory in that state's 2012 Senate race. Her opponents, Attorney General Jon Bruning, and state Treasurer Don Stenberg, each spent well in excess of $1 million, where as Fischer spent $100,000, augmented by twice that much in SuperPAC spending from Chicago Cubs part-owner Joe Ricketts. Fischer currently leads Democratic challenger former Sen. Bob Kerrey by 10 points.
- Tea party candidate for Senate Ted Cruz got enough of the primary vote in Texas to force a run-off vote against establishment GOP candidate David Dewhurst in May 2012. Cruz defeated Dewhurst in the runoff election with a 14% margin of victory.
- The "grass-roots activists who identify to a large extent with the leaderless tea party movement" played a part in Scott Walker's election to Governor of Wisconsin in 2010 as well as his recall election victory in 2012. A FOX News exit poll showed Tea Party support was a key part of Walker's win in 2012, just as it was in 2010.
- In Atlanta, the Tea Party partnered with the NAACP and the Sierra Club to defeat the $7.2 billion dollar Transportation Investment Act in June 2012. The act had the support of both Democratic and Republican "establishment" politicians. The act was supported with $8 million used to sell the project to the public, while the Tea Party had only $15,000.00 to oppose it. With concerns that much of the act would do little to improve Atlanta's transportation problems, it was defeated with a 63% "no" vote.
- In Pennsylvania, Tea Party activists and FreedomWorks pushed for a law that would allow businesses to provide student tuition grants for school-choice in return for tax credits. The law was signed by Gov. Tom Corbett on June 30.
- In Florida, former veterinarian and Tea Party supporter Ted Yoho defeated 12-term GOP Rep. Cliff Stearns in the GOP primary in August
Aftermath of Tea Party victories in the 2012 election cycle
William J. Bennett, contributing an opinion on CNN, stated "The public sector union machine, once a colossus of Democratic power, looks weak in the wake of Walker's triumph. With mandatory union dues now extinct, union membership has withered in Wisconsin. AFSCME's Local 24 in Madison has seen its ranks drop from 22,300 to 7,100, while AFSCME's statewide membership has been cut in half. In short, Walker has broken the long running cycle of handoffs and paybacks between union leadership and state politicians. ... Local tea party groups, like the Racine tea party, and national groups, such as Americans for Prosperity, have hosted dozens of rallies for Walker, recruiting volunteers from around the country and pouring in campaign donations in unparalleled numbers. Any rumors of a tea party demise have been short-lived."
The victory of Tea Party candidate Richard Mourdock over long-time establishment incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar has put the Republican party in jeopardy of losing their once safe seat in Indiana. Polling shows Mourdock to be in a statistical tie with Democratic challenger Rep. Joe Donnelly.
Whilst in Missouri, a seat that the GOP needs to win in order to retake the Senate and where the Incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill is seen as very vulnerable, the Republican nominee Todd Akin, once surging ahead of McCaskill in the polls, caused controversy with his legitimate rape remarks. The once easily winnable seat for the Republicans, has now turned into a deadheat.
Tea party activities have declined since 2010. According to Harvard professor Theda Skocpol, membership in Tea Party chapters across the country has slipped from about 1,000 to 600, but that this is still "a very good survival rate." Mostly, Tea Party organizations are said to have shifted away from national demonstrations to local issues. A shift in the operational approach used by the Tea Party has also affected the movement's visibility, with chapters placing more emphasis on the mechanics of policy and getting candidates elected rather than staging public events.
The tea party's involvement in the 2012 GOP presidential primaries was minimal, owing to divisions over whom to endorse as well as lack of enthusiasm for all the candidates. Which is not to say the 2012 GOP ticket hasn't had an influence on the Tea Party: following the selection of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's vice-presidential running mate, the New York Times declared that the once fringe of the conservative coalition, Tea Party lawmakers are now "indisputably at the core of the modern Republican Party."
Membership and demographics
Several polls have been conducted on the demographics of the movement. Though the various polls sometimes turn up slightly different results, they tend to show that Tea Party supporters are mainly white and slightly more likely to be male, married, older than 45, more conservative than the general population, and likely to be more wealthy and have more education.
According to The Atlantic, the three main groups that provide guidance and organization for the protests, FreedomWorks, dontGO, and Americans for Prosperity, state that the demonstrations are an organic movement. Law professor and commentator Glenn Reynolds, best known as author of the Instapundit political blog, argued in the New York Post that: "These aren't the usual semiprofessional protesters who attend antiwar and pro-union marches. These are people with real jobs; most have never attended a protest march before. They represent a kind of energy that our politics hasn't seen lately, and an influx of new activists." Conservative political strategist Tim Phillips, now head of Americans for Prosperity, has remarked that the Republican Party is "too disorganized and unsure of itself to pull this off".
"Tea Party supporters", says Patrik Jonsson of the Christian Science Monitor, "have been called neo-Klansmen and knuckle-dragging hillbillies". Jonsson adds, "demonizing tea party activists tends to energize the Democrats' left-of-center base". He notes that "polls suggest that tea party activists are not only more mainstream than many critics suggest, but that a majority of them are women (primarily mothers), not angry white men". Jonsson quotes Juan Williams saying that Tea Party's opposition to health reform was based on self-interest rather than racism.
A Gallup poll conducted in March 2010 found that—other than gender, income and politics—self-described Tea Party members were demographically similar to the population as a whole.
When surveying supporters or participants of the Tea Party movement, polls have shown that they are to a very great extent more likely to be registered Republican, have a favorable opinion of the Republican Party and an unfavorable opinion of the Democratic Party. The Bloomberg National Poll of adults 18 and over showed that 40% of Tea Party supporters are 55 or older, compared with 32% of all poll respondents; 79% are white, 61% are men and 44% identify as "born-again Christians", compared with 75%, 48.5%, and 34% for the general population, respectively.
According to Susan Page and Naomi Jagoda of USA Today in 2010, the Tea Party was more "a frustrated state of mind" than "a classic political movement". Tea party members "are more likely to be married and a bit older than the nation as a whole". They are predominantly white, but other groups make up just under one-fourth of their ranks. They believe that the federal government has gotten too large and powerful.
Polling of supporters
An October 2010 Washington Post canvass of local Tea Party organizers found 99% said "concern about the economy" was an "important factor". Various polls have also probed Tea Party supporters for their views on a variety of political and controversial issues. On the question of whether they think their own income taxes this year are fair, 52% of Tea Party supporters told pollsters for CBS/New York Times that they were, versus 62% in the general population (including tea party supporters). A Bloomberg News poll found that Tea Partiers are not against increased government action in all cases. "The ideas that find nearly universal agreement among Tea Party supporters are rather vague," says J. Ann Selzer, the pollster who created the survey. "You would think any idea that involves more government action would be anathema, and that is just not the case."
In advance of a new edition of their book American Grace, political scientists David E. Campbell of Notre Dame and Robert D. Putnam of Harvard published in a The New York Times opinion the results of their research into the political attitudes and background of Tea Party supporters. Using a pre-Tea Party poll in 2006 and going back to the same respondents in 2011, they found the supporters to be not "nonpartisan political neophytes" as often described, but largely "overwhelmingly partisan Republicans" who were politically active prior to the Tea Party. The survey found Tea Party supporters "no more likely than anyone else" to have suffered hardship during the 2007-2010 recession. Additionally, the respondents were more concerned about "putting God in government" than with trying to shrink government.
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. The Tea Party is strongly opposed to government-imposed limits on carbon dioxide emissions as part of emissions trading legislation to encourage use of fuels that emit 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. The proposition failed to pass, with less than 40% voting in favor.
Many of the movement's members also favor stricter measures against illegal immigration.
Polls found that just 7% of Tea Party supporters approve of how Obama is doing his job compared to 50% (as of April 2010) of the general public, and that roughly 77% of supporters had voted for Obama's Republican opponent, John McCain in 2008.
A University of Washington poll of 1,695 registered voters in the state of Washington reported that 73% of Tea Party supporters disapprove of Obama's policy of engaging with Muslim countries, 88% approve of the controversial immigration law recently enacted in Arizona, 82% do not believe that gay and lesbian couples should have the legal right to marry, and that about 52% believed that "lesbians and gays have too much political power".
Leadership and groups
An October 2010 Washington Post canvass of 647 local Tea Party organizers asked "which national figure best represents your groups?" and got the following responses: no one 34%, Sarah Palin 14%, Glenn Beck 7%, Jim DeMint 6%, Ron Paul 6%, Michele Bachmann 4%.
The success of candidates popular within the Tea Party movement has boosted Sarah Palin's visibility. Rasmussen and Schoen (2010) conclude that "She is the symbolic leader of the movement, and more than anyone else has helped to shape it."
The movement has been supported nationally by prominent individuals and organizations, including:
501(c)(4) Non-Profit Organizations:
- Tea Party Patriots, an organization with more than 1,000 affiliated groups across the nation that proclaims itself to be the "Official Home of the Tea Party Movement".
- Americans for Prosperity, an organization founded by David H. Koch in 2003, and led by Tim Phillips. The group has over 1 million members in 500 local affiliates, and led protests against health care reform in 2009.
- FreedomWorks, an organization led Dick Armey. Like Americans for Prosperity, the group has over 1 million members in 500 local affiliates. It makes local and national candidate endorsements.
- Tea Party Express, a national bus tour run by Our Country Deserves Better PAC, itself a conservative political action committee created by Sacramento-based Republican consulting firm Russo, Marsh, and Associates.
Informal Organizations and Coalitions:
- In July 2010, Representative Michele Bachmann, a Minnesota Republican, formed the House congressional Tea Party Caucus. This congressional caucus, which Bachmann chairs, is devoted to the Tea Party's stated principles of "fiscal responsibility, adherence to the Constitution, and limited government". As of March 31, 2011, the caucus consisted of 62 Republican representatives. Jason Chaffetz and Melissa Clouthier have accused them of trying to hijack or co-opt the grassroots Tea Party Movement.
- Tea Party Students organized the 1st National Tea Party Students Conference, which was hosted by Tea Party Patriots at its American Policy Summit in Phoenix on February 25–27, 2011. The conference included sessions with Campus Reform, Students For Liberty, Young America’s Foundation, and Young Americans for Liberty.
Fundraising and support
Sarah Palin headlined four "Liberty at the Ballot Box" bus tours, to raise money for candidates and the Tea Party Express. One of the tours visited 30 towns and covered 3,000 miles. Following the formation of the Tea Party Caucus, Michele Bachmann raised $10 million for a political action committee, MichelePAC, and sent funds to the campaigns of Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio. In September 2010, the Tea Party Patriots announced it had received a $1,000,000 USD donation from an anonymous donor.
In an April 2009 New York Times opinion column, contributor Paul Krugman wrote that "the tea parties don't represent a spontaneous outpouring of public sentiment. They're AstroTurf (fake grassroots) events, manufactured by the usual suspects. In particular, a key role is being played by FreedomWorks, an organization run by Richard Armey." The same month, then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) stated "It's not really a grassroots movement. It's astroturf by some of the wealthiest people in America to keep the focus on tax cuts for the rich instead of for the great middle class"
Influence of Koch Industries
In an August 30, 2010, article in The New Yorker, Jane Mayer said that the billionaire brothers David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch and Koch Industries are providing financial and organizational support to the Tea Party movement through Americans for Prosperity, which David founded. The AFP's "Hot Air Tour" was organized to fight against taxes on carbon use and the activation of a cap and trade program. In 1984, David Koch also founded Citizens for a Sound Economy, part of which became FreedomWorks in a 2004 split, another group that organized and supports the movement. Koch Industries issued a press release stating that the Kochs have "no ties to and have never given money to FreedomWorks". Former ambassador Christopher Meyer writes in the Daily Mail that the Tea Party movement is a mix of "grassroots populism, professional conservative politics, and big money", the last supplied in part by Charles and David Koch. Jane Mayer says that the Koch brothers' political involvement with the Tea Party has been so secretive that she labels it "covert".
Ground game and Get Out The Vote (GOTV) efforts
Tea Party ground game/GOTV before 2012
Scott Brown on the campaign trail.
The Tea Party began life as a protest movement, not as an organization that works on political ground games or Get Out The Vote (GOTV) efforts. One of the first national signs of the Tea Party's efforts to organize voters came with the election of Scott Brown in the contest to fill the remaining two-year term of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Tea Party activists nationwide made a mass pilgrimage to the Bay State to support his unlikely campaign and ultimate win over Democrat Martha Coakley. Democrats have said as late as September 2010 that the Tea Party could not match their ground game and was mostly hype. The Democrats have the advantage in better organization, an older volunteer organization and personal connections between volunteers and voters.
On November 2, 2010 Fox News reported that the Democrats did not dispute expectations that they would lose the House, and that their vaunted campaign operation faced a less polished ground game infused with the energy of the new Tea Party. The Tea Party helped deliver to Democrats what President Obama called a "shellacking" in the mid-term elections. On November 10, 2010, FreedomWorks announced the national rollout of “FreedomConnect” which they touted as a "grassroots action center that will revolutionize the ways in which FreedomWorks members, 9/12ers and tea party groups across the country communicate and organize in 2011 and beyond."
Challenge of the ground game for the Tea Party in the 2012 election cycle
Scott Walker at Marquette University conference, 2007
The ground game was considered to be a major challenge for Tea Party candidates in several important contests in 2012, including Wisconsin's recall election of Gov. Scott Walker and the Texas GOP Senate primary race between "establishment" candidate Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz.
Early in the election cycle, Democratic allies had expressed confidence in the strength of their own ground game. In September 2011, Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa delivering a speech to introduce President Obama to the gathered crowd, said "We got to keep an eye on the battle that we face: The war on workers. And you see it everywhere, it is the Tea Party."... "We’re going to win that war."..."President Obama, this is your army,"... “We are ready to march. Let’s take these sons of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong." Similarly, Organized Labor in Wisconsin hoped its ground game would give it the edge. According to Karl Rove, Democratic Party Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz also boasted on CNN in May that the Wisconsin recall would be the "dry run we need of our massive, significant dynamic grass-roots presidential campaign."
When challenging GOP "establishment" opponents, the Tea Party faced opposing ground games of various size and sophistication. In Texas, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst hired "ground game expert" Kevin Lindley, who had run Gov. Rick Perry's campaigns, while in Indiana Richard Lugar no longer lived in the state and developed a reputation for being out of touch with voters there.
Tea Party shifts focus from demonstrations to ground game/GOTV
The Washington Post noted in July 2012 that the Tea Party "is no longer the rising tsunami it appeared to be in 2010. Largely gone are the disorderly rallies, colonial-era costumes and fixations on fringe issues, such as the provenance of the president’s birth certificate. Instead, the movement has retooled into a loosely organized network of field operations that, as in Texas, pushes Republicans toward more strident conservative positions and candidates, while supplying ground troops across the country for candidates and big-money conservative groups, such as the Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity."
Tea Party members now tell stories of mailing literature from their laundry rooms, manning phone banks, knocking on doors, and driving over 34,000 miles in their cars to build support for legislation. The Tea Party Patriots now offer free, on-demand, online grassroots training programs. The Tea Party has also displayed a willingness to partner with seemingly unlikely groups, such as the NAACP and the Sierra Club.
A USA Today/Gallup poll conducted in March 2010, found that 28% of those surveyed considered themselves supporters of the Tea Party movement, 26% were opponents, and 46% were neither. These figures remained stable through January 2011, but public opinion of the movement changed by August 2011. In the USA Today/Gallup poll conducted in January 2011, approximately 70% of adults, including approximately 9 out of 10 Republicans, feel Republican leaders in Congress should give consideration to Tea Party movement ideas. In August 2011, 42% of registered voters, but only 12% of Republicans, said Tea Party endorsement would be a "negative" and that they would be "less likely" to vote for such a candidate.
A Gallup Poll of April 2010 found 47% of Americans had an "unfavorable" image of the Tea Party movement, as opposed to 33% who had a favorable opinion.  A 2011 opinion survey by political scientists David E. Campbell and Robert D. Putnam found the Tea Party ranked at the bottom of a list of "two dozen" American "religious, political, and racial groups" in terms of favorability -- "even less liked than Muslims and atheists." In November 2011 the New York Times cited opinion polls showing that support for the Tea Party had "fallen sharply even in places considered Tea Party strongholds." It quoted a pollster (Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center) speculating that the Tea Party position in congress was perceived as "too extreme and not willing to compromise.”
A CBS News/New York Times poll in September 2010, showed 19% of respondents supported the movement, 63% did not, and 16% said they did not know. In the same poll, 29% had an unfavorable view of the Tea Party, compared to 23% with a favorable view. The same poll retaken in August 2011 found that 20% of respondents had a "favorable" view of the Tea Party and 40% had an "unfavorable" view. A CNN/ORC poll taken September 23–25, 2011, found that the favorable/unfavorable ratio was 28% versus 53%.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll later in September 2010 found 27% considered themselves Tea Party supporters. In that poll, 42% said the Tea Party has been good for the U.S. political system; 18% called it a bad thing. Those with an unfavorable view of the Tea Party outnumbered those with a favorable view 36–30%. In comparison, the Democratic Party was viewed unfavorably by a 42–37% margin, and the Republican Party by 43–31%.
A poll conducted by Quinnipiac University in March 2010 found that only 13% of national adults identified themselves as part of the Tea Party movement but that the Tea Party had a positive opinion by a 28–23% margin with 49% who did not know enough about the group to form an opinion. A similar poll conducted by the Winston Group in April 2010 found that 17% of American registered voters consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement.
After debt-ceiling crisis
After the mid-2011 debt-ceiling crisis, polls became more unfavorable to the Tea Party. According to a Gallup poll, 28% of adults disapproved of the Tea Party compared to 25% approving, and noted that "[t]he national Tea Party movement appears to have lost some ground in popular support after the blistering debate over raising the nation's debt ceiling in which Tea Party Republicans...fought any compromise on taxes and spending". Similarly, a Pew poll found that 29% of respondents thought Congressional tea party supporters had a negative effect compared to 22% thinking it was a positive effect. It noted that "[t]he new poll also finds that those who followed the debt ceiling debate very closely have more negative views about the impact of the Tea Party than those who followed the issue less closely." A CNN/ORC poll put disapproval at 51% with a 31% approval.
A Rasmussen Reports poll conducted in April 2012 shows 44% of Likely U.S. Voters hold at least a somewhat favorable view of Tea Party activists, while 49% share an unfavorable opinion of them. When asked if the Tea Party movement will help or hurt Republicans in the 2012 elections, 53% of Republicans said they see the Tea Party as a political plus.
Symbols and names
Beginning in 2009, the Gadsden flag had become widely used as a protest symbol by Tea Party protesters nationwide. It was also seen being displayed by members of Congress at Tea Party rallies. Some lawmakers have dubbed it a political symbol due to the Tea Party connection and the political nature of Tea Party supporters.
The Second Revolution flag gained national attention on January 19, 2010. It is a version of the Betsy Ross flag with a Roman numeral "II" in the center of the circle of 13 stars symbolizing a second revolution in America. The Second Revolution flag has been called synonymous with Tea Party causes and events.
Use of term "teabagger"
The term teabagger was initially used to refer to Tea Partiers after conservatives used tea bag as a verb on protest signs and websites. Shortly thereafter, some started using the phrase mockingly, alluding to the sexual connotation of the term when referring to Tea Party protesters. Most conservatives do not, for the most part, use the term with its double entendre meaning; rather it seems the political left has adopted the joke. It has been used by several media outlets to humorously refer to Tea Party-affiliated protestors. Conservatives initially embraced the term, and some have since advocated that the non-vulgar meaning of the word be reclaimed. Grant Barrett, co-host of the "A Way with Words" radio program, has listed teabagger as a 2009 buzzword meaning, "a derogatory name for attendees of Tea Parties, probably coined in allusion to a sexual practice".
On April 29, 2009, Obama commented on the Tea Party protests publicly during a townhall meeting in Arnold, Missouri, saying: "let me just remind them that I am happy to have a serious conversation about how we are going to cut our health care costs down over the long term, how we're going to stabilize Social Security. Claire (McCaskill) and I are working diligently to do basically a thorough audit of federal spending. But let's not play games and pretend that the reason is because of the recovery act, because that's just a fraction of the overall problem that we've got. We are going to have to tighten our belts, but we're going to have to do it in an intelligent way. And we've got to make sure that the people who are helped are working American families, and we're not suddenly saying that the way to do this is to eliminate programs that help ordinary people and give more tax cuts to the wealthy. We tried that formula for eight years. It did not work. And I don't intend to go back to it."
On April 15, 2010, Obama touted his administration's tax cuts, noting the passage of 25 different tax cuts over the past year, including tax cuts for 95% of working Americans. He then remarked, "So I've been a little amused over the last couple of days where people have been having these rallies about taxes. You would think they would be saying thank you. That's what you'd think."
On September 20, 2010, at a townhall discussion sponsored by CNBC, Obama said healthy skepticism about government and spending was good, but it was not enough to just say "Get control of spending", and he challenged the Tea Party movement to get specific about how they would cut government debt and spending: "And so the challenge, I think, for the Tea Party movement is to identify specifically what would you do. It's not enough just to say, get control of spending. I think it's important for you to say, I'm willing to cut veterans' benefits, or I'm willing to cut Medicare or Social Security benefits, or I'm willing to see these taxes go up. What you can't do—which is what I've been hearing a lot from the other side—is say we're going to control government spending, we're going to propose $4 trillion of additional tax cuts, and that magically somehow things are going to work."
US News and World Report reported that the nature of the coverage of the protests has become part of the story. On CNN's Situation Room, journalist Howard Kurtz commented that "much of the media seems to have chosen sides". He says that Fox News portrayed the protests "as a big story, CNN as a modest story, and MSNBC as a great story to make fun of. And for most major newspapers, it's a nonstory." There are reports that the movement has been actively promoted by the Fox News Channel.
According to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, a progressive media watchdog, there is a disparity between large coverage of the Tea Party movement and minimal coverage of larger movements. In 2009, the major Tea Party protests were quoted twice as often as the National Equality March despite a much lower turnout. In 2010, a Tea Party protest was covered 59 times more than the US Social Forum (177 Tea Party mentions versus 3 for Social Forum) despite an attendance that was 25 times smaller in size (600 Tea Party attendees versus at least 15,000 for Social Forum).
In April 2010, responding to a question from the media watchdog group Media Matters posed the previous week, Rupert Murdoch, the chief executive of News Corporation, which owns Fox News, said, "I don't think we should be supporting the Tea Party or any other party." That same week Fox News canceled an appearance by Sean Hannity at a Cincinnati Tea Party rally.
Following the September 12 Taxpayer March on Washington, Fox News said it was the only cable news outlet to cover the emerging protests and took out full-page ads in The Washington Post, the New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal with a prominent headline reading, "How did ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, and CNN miss this story?" CNN news anchor Rick Sanchez disputed Fox's assertion, pointing to various coverage of the event. CNN, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, and CBS Radio News provided various forms of live coverage of the rally in Washington throughout the day on Saturday, including the lead story on CBS Evening News.
James Rainey of the Los Angeles Times said MSNBC's attacks on the tea parties paled compared to Fox's support, but that MSNBC personalities Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews were hardly subtle in disparaging the movement. Howard Kurtz has said that, "These [FOX] hosts said little or nothing about the huge deficits run up by President Bush, but Barack Obama's budget and tax plans have driven them to tea. On the other hand, CNN and MSNBC may have dropped the ball by all but ignoring the protests."
In the January/February 2012 issue of Foreign Affairs, Francis Fukuyama stated the Tea Party is supporting "politicians who serve the interests of precisely those financiers and corporate elites they claim to despise" and inequality while comparing and contrasting it with the occupy movement.
Tea Party's views of media coverage
In October 2010, a survey conducted by The Washington Post found that the majority of local Tea Party organizers consider the media coverage of their groups to be fair. 76 percent of the local organizers said media coverage has been fair while 23 percent have said coverage was unfair. This was based on responses from all 647 local Tea Party organizers the Post was able to contact and verify, from a list of more than 1,400 possible groups identified.
On issues of race, bigotry and public perception
Since its inception, the Tea Party movement has struggled with charges of racism. Opponents cite a number of events as proof that the movement is, at least in part, motivated by bigotry and intolerance. Supporters, however, say the incidents are the work of "a few bad apples", a small fringe that have unfairly maligned the movement. Examples include:
- Placards at protest rallies as early as 2009 have depicted President Obama as a witch doctor, and as having plans for "White Slavery".
- While attending the March 2010, health care rally in Washington, D.C., Springboro, Ohio, Tea Party founder Sonny Thomas posted a racist comment on the Springboro Tea Party Twitter page he managed by tweeting "Illegals everywhere today! So many spicks makes me feel like a speck. Grrr. Wheres my gun!?"
- Tea Party Express leader Mark Williams referred to Allah as "the terrorists' monkey god", and posted other anti-Islamic remarks in May 2010. When questioned by The Washington Post about his comments about Islam, Williams stated the controversy has "been fantastic for the movement". Williams received further criticism in mid-July when he posted a fictional letter named "Colored People" on his blog. Williams said that the letter was a satirical response to a resolution passed by the NAACP calling on Tea Party leaders to "'repudiate the racist element and activities' from within the movement".
- Ozark Tea Party steering committee board member Inge Marler opened a June 2012, Arkansas Tea Party rally of over 500 people by telling a racist joke about African-Americans on welfare.
After each incident, other prominent Tea Partiers were quick to denounce the actions. In each case, public announcements were made strongly stating that the controversial actions were neither condoned by, nor representative of, the Tea Party movement. Where Tea Party leaders were involved, they were forced to relinquish their position, or were ostracized from the movement.
Some Tea Party organizers have started taking steps to prevent potentially controversial situations from arising, including hiring off-duty police officers and restricting attendance at their events, uninviting speakers espousing controversial views, and urging attendees to self-police events for troublemakers.
Polls, surveys and studies have been conducted to examine Tea Party supporters' views on racial issues. The University of Washington poll of registered voters in Washington State found that 74% of Tea Party supporters agreed with the statement "[w]hile equal opportunity for blacks and minorities to succeed is important, it's not really the government's job to guarantee it", while a CBS/New York Times poll found that 25% think that the administration favors blacks over whites, compared with just 11% of the general public, and that they are more likely to believe Obama was born outside the United States. A seven state study conducted from the University of Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race & Sexuality found that Tea Party movement supporters studied were "more likely to be racially resentful" than the population as a whole, even when controlling for partisanship and ideology. Of white poll respondents who strongly approve of the Tea Party, only 35% believe that blacks are hard-working, compared to 55% of those strongly opposed to the Tea Party, and 40% of all respondents. An analysis done by ABC News' Polling Unit found that views on the extent of racism "are not significant predictors of support for the Tea Party movement" because they are also typical of whites who are very conservative.
A University of Washington poll of Washington State residents reported that 46% of Tea Party supporters agree with the observation that "If blacks would only try harder, they would be just as well off as whites", 73% disapprove of Obama's policy of engaging with Muslim countries, 88% approve of the controversial immigration law recently enacted in Arizona, 82% do not believe that gay and lesbian couples should have the legal right to marry, and that about 52% believed that "lesbians and gays have too much political power".
The Washington Post reported that an analysis of the signs displayed at a September 2010 Tea Party rally found that "the vast majority of activists expressed narrow concerns about the government's economic and spending policies and steered clear of the racially charged anti-Obama messages that have helped define some media coverage of such events". Roughly a quarter of the signs "reflected direct anger with Obama", 5 percent "mentioned the president's race or religion, and slightly more than 1 percent questioned his American citizenship". The researcher, Emily Elkins, did not conclude that "the racially charged messages" were "unimportant", but she did conclude that "media coverage of tea party rallies over the past year have focused so heavily on the more controversial signs that it has contributed to the perception that such content dominates the tea party movement more than it actually does". A report published in the fall 2010 by the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights and backed by the NAACP has found what it says are efforts by white nationalist groups and militias to link themselves to the Tea Party movement. White nationalists have attempted to recruit new members at Tea Party events. Steve Smith, Pennsylvania Party Chairman of the white nationalist American Third Position Party, has called Tea Party events "fertile ground for our activists".
Black conservatives have expressed varied opinions about the Tea Party's inclusiveness and concerns about racism. Brandon Brice, a primary black speaker at a tax-day Tea Party rally, expressed worry about the movement, saying, "It's strayed away from the message of wasteful spending and Washington not listening to its constituents, and it's become more of this rally of hate." Lenny McAllister, a Republican commentator, author and Tea Party supporter, said he has seen racism within the movement and has confronted it by approaching people with racially derogatory signs of President Obama and asking them to take the signs down. Like Brice, McAllister thinks leaders of the Tea Party movement must not ignore the issue. McAllister told The Washington Post, "The people are speaking up and becoming more educated on the issues, but you have fringe elements that are defining this good thing with their negative, hateful behavior." He said the movement is more diverse than news clips show, commenting that "There is this perception that these are all old, white racists and that's not the case." During an interview on NPR with Michel Martin, McAllister and columnist Cynthia Tucker discussed racism and the Tea Parties; Tucker wrote about the interview, concluding that McAllister's take on racism was that "he'd seen enough racist signs at other Tea Party gatherings to know that racism is associated with the movement".
Black Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said that racist accusations about the Tea Party Movement are "ridiculous". "I have been speaking to Tea Parties, Americans for Prosperity, since 2009, before it was cool," Cain said, and then, referring to his victories in recent Tea Party Straw polls, "... If the Tea Party organization is racist, why does the black guy keep winning all these straw polls?" Cain went on to say that while he doesn't feel President Obama used race to get elected, "a lot of his supporters use race selectively to try to cover up some of his failures, to try to cover up some of his failed policies." Cain said Obama's surrogates "try to play the race card, because there's supposed to be something wrong with criticizing him", and concluded, "Some people have tried to use [race] to try to give the president a pass on failed policies, bad decisions and the fact that this economy is not doing what it's supposed to do."  Conservative David Webb, who is a black Republican, stated that the NAACP was practising "selective racism" against Rick Santelli. Webb also stated that a picture of President Obama with a bone through his nose "is no more or less racist than Condoleezza Rice with a monkey baby".
Another prominent African-American conservative, Ward Connerly, decried accusations of Tea Party racism and defended the movement in a National Review column: "Race is the engine that drives the political Left. In the courtrooms, on college campuses, and, most especially, in our politics, race is a central theme. Where it does not naturally rise to the surface, there are those who will manufacture and amplify it," Connerly said. "I am convinced beyond any doubt that all of this is part of the strategic plan being implemented by the Left in its current campaign to remake America." His comments were supported by Fox News Political commentator & black republican Angela McGlowan, a former Miss District of Columbia USA.
Some Tea Partiers blame the media for casting them as racists. Allen West, one of 32 African-Americans who ran for Congress in 2010 as Republicans, says the notion of racism in the Tea Party movement has been made up by the news media.
The final round of debate before voting on the health care bill was marked with vandalism and widespread threats of violence to at least ten Democratic lawmakers across the country, which created public relations problems for the fledgeling Tea Party movement. On March 22, 2010, in what the New York Times called "potentially the most dangerous of many acts of violence and threats against supporters of the bill," a Lynchburg, Virginia Tea Party organizer and the Danville, Virginia Tea Party Chairman both posted the home address of Representative Tom Perriello's brother (mistakenly believing it was the Congressman's address) on their websites, and encouraged readers to "drop by" to express their anger against Representative Perriello's vote in favor of the healthcare bill. The following day, after smelling gas in his house, a severed gas line that connected to a propane tank was discovered on Perriello's brother's screened-in porch. Local police and FBI investigators determined that it was intentionally cut as a deliberate act of vandalism. Perriello's brother also received a threatening letter referencing the legislation. Attorney General Cuccinelli stated that posting a home address on a website and encouraging people to visit is "an appalling approach. It's not civil discourse, it's an invitation to intimidation and it's totally unacceptable." Leaders of the Tea Party movement tried to contain the public relations damage by denouncing the violent acts and distancing themselves from those behind the acts. One Tea Party website issued a response saying the Tea Party member's action of posting the address "was not requested, sanctioned or endorsed by the Lynchburg Tea Party". The director of the Northern Colorado Tea Party said, "Although many are frustrated by the passage of such controversial legislation, threats are absolutely not acceptable in any form, to any lawmaker, of any party."
In early July 2010, the North Iowa Tea Party (NITP) posted a billboard showing a photo of Adolf Hitler with the heading "National Socialism", one of Barack Obama with the heading "Democrat Socialism", and one of Vladimir Lenin with the heading "Marxist Socialism", all three marked with the word "change" and the statement "Radical leaders prey on the fearful and naive". It received sharp criticism, including some from other Tea Party activists. NITP co-founder Bob Johnson acknowledged the anti-socialist message may have gotten lost amid the fascist and communist images. Following a request from the NITP, the billboard was removed on July 14.
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- Avlon, John; with Forward by Tina Brown (2010). Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America. Beast Books. ISBN 978-0-9842951-1-1.
- Foley, Elizabeth Price. The Tea Party: Three Principles (Cambridge University Press; 2012) 238 pages; $Identifies three core principles that bind the Tea Party movement: limited government, unapologetic U.S. sovereignty, and constitutional originalism; looks at how they apply to issues especially immigration, health-care reform, internationalism, and the war on terror.
- Lepore, Jill (2010). The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle over American History. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-1-4008-3696-3.
- O'Hara, John M.; with Forward by Michelle Malkin (2010). A New American Tea Party: The Counterrevolution Against Bailouts, Handouts, Reckless Spending, and More Taxes. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-56798-2.
- Rasmussen, Scott; Schoen, Doug (2010). Mad As Hell: How the Tea Party Movement Is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System. Harper. ISBN 978-0-06-199523-1.
- Skocpol, Theda; Williamson, Vanessa (2012). The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-983263-7.
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