Remember when the Tea Party was the dumbest thing that the Republican Party had going on? Remember when we had Michele Bachmann and the half-term governor from Alaska as the best examples of how mindless GOP voters had become? Boy, those were the days, weren’t they?
Just a few years ago, the Tea Party was all the rage in the Republican Party. Armed with “Don’t Tread On Me” flags and tri-cornered hats, they held rallies around the country while political grifters warned about Obamacare death panels and promised to “take back America” while peddling their books. Now the Tea Party has hit a new low in support since the last poll in October as the Republican Party enters a new, far more bizarre chapter in its history.
Gallup noted in a recent release that support for the Tea Party peaked at 32% nationally after the 2010 election. In Gallup’s October poll, 17% described themselves as “supporters” of the movement. Another 24% described themselves as “opponents,” and slightly more than half, 54%, said they were neither a supporter nor an opponent. Among Republicans, 52% in Gallup surveys in 2010 called themselves supporters. In Gallup’s combined polls from 2014–2015, support among Republicans had dropped 14 points to 38%.
A new online poll from the Public Religion Research Institute asks a question with different wording, but it, too, reveals a drop in support. Five years ago, 11% in a PRRI poll “identified” with the movement. Today, just 6% do. The new poll also shows that among Republicans, the movement has lost considerable luster: 22% identified with it in 2010, and 14% do so now. (Source)
Although the Tea Party is beginning to fade away, there is still plenty of resentment and anger within the Republican Party, as perfectly illustrated by the current popularity of Donald Trump. However, the sheer stupidity and hatred demonstrated by his supporters makes the holders of misspelled signs about socialism at Tea Party rallies look like a gathering of political Einsteins in comparison.
The fact that the Tea Party is declining in popularity but the GOP continues to tack ever further to the right-wing fringe should be very troubling, not just for the Republican Party, but for our country as a whole. Considering that out of the top presidential contenders, only Ted Cruz seems to have the full support of the Tea Party and sits in fourth place, this shows the GOP has moved to the right of the Tea Party in a very short period of time.
Part of the blame can certainly be placed on the conservative media. For a period of time, the Tea Party was considered revolutionary and websites like TPNN.com flourished. Eventually, simply spreading conspiracy stories about gun confiscation and Obamacare death panels wasn’t enough. This explains why Donald Trump has such a “yuuuuugge” lead in GOP polls; he’s willing to say the things that many Tea Party leaders would have considered just a bit too much, and voters are eating it up.
The Republican Party is lurching away from the Tea Party and toward a frightening marriage of religious fanaticism and fascism. Based on history, this cannot end well, at all.
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