Sep 15, 2010

Rise of The Tea Party

In 1992, American saw the first real challenge to the Presidential domination by Republicans and Democrats since anyone could remember.  A Texas Billionaire threw his financial empire into the ring and propelled himself into debates, across television stations, and into the papers covering the race.  Ross Perot effectively became a viable third party candidate.  He positioned himself to win 19,743,821 votes, or 18.91% of the popular vote.  The battle that Perot fought forced states such as Maine, Montana, Nevada, and New Hampshire to be won by Presidential candidate Bill Clinton, barely.  It could be argued, looking at the map and voter turn out that had Perot not been in the race, and had those voters who supported Perot voted for then President Bush he would have won the popular vote with almost 60,000,000 votes.  This type of win would have likely turned key electoral votes away from Bill Clinton and toward George Bush.  Perot for all his intentions to run a viable third party had in effect taken the White House out of Republican hands and turned it over to the Democrats.  While Perot and his supporters won no electoral votes, they did contribute to changing the outcome of the election.  1992 Presidential Vote Results

In large, Americans have forgotten the race of 1992.  The world went on and eight years later the Gore v Bush battle would dominate the American media, debates, and even lawsuits at the turn of the century.  Ultimately, the United States would once again become “Bush Country”.  Then, eight years after “Bush Country,” American media would stumble across the great debates, lawsuits and arguments for and against Obama. 

Suddenly, enter The Tea Party.  Supported and encouraged by many Republicans, the party appeared to support Republican candidates at first.  Their message is clear, they want less government, fewer taxes, and support of the United States Constitution.  On the outside, they sound Republican, but something is gradually changing those lines.  While initially supporting certain Republican candidates, the Tea Party gradually started supporting their own candidates over Republican candidates.  As of this morning, headlines on Yahoo’s news feed scream “Tea party victory endangers GOP’s goal of retaking the Senate”Yahoo Link.  A Tea Party backed candidate who happens to also be a Republican in Delaware, Christine O’Donnell, defeated Representative Mike Castle, a Republican.  Not only was Mike Castle a Republican, but he was also a longtime Representative.   The Tea Party has effectively gone from a “party” or demonstration group to what could be considered a viable “third party” capable of swaying votes within the Republican lines severely. 

An old saying is “history repeats itself.”  If that saying is true, and it has been argued to be so on several occasions, then the American political landscape may well be on its way to a repeat of the 1992 Presidential elections.  Considering that Sarah Palin, current Republican, supports Tea Party candidates.  It is possible that if Mrs. Palin does not obtain a position on the Republican ticket for 2012 that she may option out to represent the Tea Party.  It would be an easy transition for her considering that she will have the rest of 2010, 2011 and early 2012 to support both Republican and Tea Party candidates.  She can basically walk the line until it is time to represent one group or the other.  To further propel the Tea Party, not only do they have the victories right now in 2010, but they also have all of 2011 and part of 2012 to build support, financial resources, and the momentum needed to push their third party candidate into the spotlight. 

If the Tea Party becomes the third party of the 2012 race, they will no doubt pull their support largely from Republican voters.  Once they pull voters from the Republican supported ticket, they will force the same outcome that Ross Perot forced in 1992.  States that Republicans should win will suddenly become won or lost by small percentage margins.  In the end, a split of Republican support between a Tea Party candidate and a Republican candidate will allow the Democratic party to carry the needed votes on both the popular level and the electoral level.  The end result will be four more years of Obama in the White House, and that is a result that neither Tea Party or the Republican Party supporters want to endure.