My recent post ” For the Tea Party, Another Election, Another Defeat” has some disputing what I consider the established fact, that the Tea Party is in decline both in terms of overall popularity as well as in the numbers of people who identify as members of the movement. Simply put all one need do is Google “tea party identification” and there are more than ample references, including several from the right wing leaning Rasmussen Reports and Glenn Beck’s “The Blaze”, of what I pointed out is a now established fact. That said, here ya go:

“Tea party identification nationwide. Now 22%, was 32% at time of the 2010 election”.; http://t.co/oDThWeYIEC”

Rasmussen Report of 1/7/13: “Only eight percent (8%) now say they are members of the Tea Party, down from a high of 24% in April 2010″
“Just 8% Now Say They Are Tea Party Members”; http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/january_2013/just_8_now_say_they_are_tea_party_members

“While polls show Tea Party identification dropping from 24 percent in 2010 to just 8 percent today, there have been key wins.” – “Tea Party Says ‘Don’t Write Our Obit Just Yet”; http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/politics/2013/February/Tea-Party-Says-Dont-Write-Our-Obit-Just-Yet/

Glenn Beck’s The Blaze: “while the Tea Party had once enjoyed 24% popularity, according to a recent Rasmussen poll, only 8% of Americans now identify themselves as members of the Tea Party…While that is the lowest it has been in the three years” – “Why Are Some Conservatives Targeting the Tea Party as a ‘Cancer’; http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/02/06/why-are-some-conservatives-targeting-the-tea-party-as-a-cancer/

“Tea Party Identification In Texas” (February 2010 – October 2013); http://laits.utexas.edu/txp_media/html/poll/features/tea_party_id/slide1.html

Does anyone have any evidence that the Tea Party isn’t in decline either in popularity or membership?

As far as to whether or not the Tea Party has declined where the numbers make them count, that will be answered definitively in the 2014 elections. Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report has already predicted that 14 congressional seats that were leaning Republican are now leaning Democrat and 80 races are now more competitive for Republicans as a result of the Tea Party backed shutdown disaster. However, from what we can discern more recently, based on last weeks results one would ask the question as to why the Tea Party backed candidate in southern Alabama lost in a district where a Tea Party victory should be a lay up? Could it be that the numbers there that make them count where they once did no longer exist? Thus citing the quote which was shown to me so as to prove that the Tea Party isn’t in decline: ” Political power is constituted of getting people elected, getting people unelected and being able to reward or punish people for doing or not doing what you want. If you can’t do any of those things, you have no power.”; one can only conclude that the Tea Party movement’s power seems to be on the wane. If it were otherwise the movement would have more than a school board victory in Colorado to boast about. The fact that this Colorado issue was their only victory speaks volumes as to their declining power as it is during off year elections that the politically active are supposed to have outsized effects on results. The fact that the Tea Party has produced yet another miserable showing at the polls is proof positive of their declining real power both inside and outside of the GOP.

And as far as citing a post from Tea Party Patriots, or any other movement related organ for that matter, as to why they lost in Virginia, well that’s not exactly an objective source or a good place to look for an explanation. Again in Virginia, as in Alabama the operative question would be: “If the Tea Party is so popular and robust and they exist in numbers that make them count, then why did a clear backed Tea Party favorite fail to win?” Surely all of those who identify with the Tea Party movement know the ill affects of spending on political races, as well as the motives of the GOP Establishment, and they should have been unswayed by the lack of commercials for Cuccinelli and firm in their support for him yet he still lost. If members of the Tea Party don’t exist in sufficient numbers to make them count in Virginia, and most certainly, in Alabama where do they exist in sufficient numbers to make a political difference?

I’ll state again what I said in my last post “Ever since the high water mark of the Tea Party movement in 2010 the path forward nationally has been nothing if not downhill.” Till someone can prove me wrong either by showing me a turn around in the numbers of people who identify with the movement or the movement’s winning more elections than it’s losing I will not be convinced of this rather hallow argument to the contrary. As coach Bill Parcells said of football teams: You are what your record says you are.” That’s true in politics too and any counter argument to the contrary is just so much pap.

As for the Tea Party members holding on in districts where they in fact have a foothold I would say that that is simply a function of gerrymandering and amounts to nothing more than artificial political life support. In the long run, due to demographics and the need of the Republican Party to win elections so as to remain competitive, this is nothing but a fleeting moment politically for the Tea Party movement. It can not be sustained over the long haul, especially in a public that is sick of political gridlock and demands answers to the myriad set of problems now facing the nation.

Steven J. Gulitti
11/11/13

Sources:

For the Tea Party, Another Election, Another Defeat; http://my.firedoglake.com/sjgulitti/2013/11/06/for-the-tea-party-another-election-another-defeat/;

Cook Report Moves 14 House Races Toward Dems; http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/10/17/1248429/-Conservative-Cook-Report-Moves-14-House-Races-Toward-Dems

Cook Political Report: Damage Assessment; http://cookpolitical.com/story/6435