The Big Question: How has the Tea Party changed politics?

Justin Raimondo, editorial director of Antiwar.com, said:

For the first time since the 1970s, a mass protest movement is gaining traction in America. That's significant, surely, and holds out some promise of changing American politics -- in ways we can't anticipate.
 
You can tell it's significant, because the elites in government, the media, and academia are viscerally hostile: they hate populist movements, whether of the right or the left. Another indication of its success: a smear  narrative of the movement as a "hate" movement, one based on "violence" and the threat of it, is being promulgated by the Establishment, which is deathly afraid of a mass mobilization of "anti-government" (i.e.  pro-freedom) Americans. The federal gravy train is about to be challenged -- call out the FBI!
 


John F. McManus, president of The John Birch Society, said: 

The Tea Party movement hasn't changed much - yet.  It remains to be seen whether many of the individuals who have participated in it will stay with it so as to help in the important need to make the Congress more constitutional.
 
Movements such as the Tea Party customarily attract a lot of media attention - but only for a short time.  Some are infiltrated and taken away from their original goal by political "experts."
 
The Tea Party movement has given many previously uninvolved Americans an outlet for their frustrations.  But noise and hoopla isn't going to get the job done.  Understanding what America is supposed to be, and rejecting the deficient schooling most Americans have been given about our country is essential. 


Rob Richie, executive director of FairVote, said:

The Tea Party movement has once again exposed the limitations of a strictly two-party system -- meaning a system where we not only have two dominant parties in legislatures, but rarely any enduring electoral options outside the two parties. The energy behind the Tea Partiers is real and indeed momentous, but its expression is increasingly contradictory as different leaders in and outside the movement try to push it in different directions.

Imagine if it were a realistic option for the Tea Partiers to run their own candidates, as it could do with the alternative voting (aka instant runoff voting) system that may well be subject of a national referendum in the United Kingdom last year and has been backed in the U.S. by a range of players, most recently New York Times columnist Tom Friedman. Such a system would allow a clearer expression of the goals of Tea Partiers, allow the existing parties to appeal to its voters without going overboard and avoid the kind of split vote dynamics we may see in the Nevada U.S. Senate race this year.


Hal Lewis, professor of Physics at UC Santa Barbara, said:

All the polls show that there has been a negative reaction among the so-called independents against the precipitous run into government control of the economy. It hasn't been a Republican thing, but it has benefited the Republicans, as it has alienated many moderate democrats. But the Republicans have been clumsy and heavy-handed about the opportunity thrown their way (they have weak leadership, top to bottom, and it is overly generous to call it leadership). So the tea-party movement has provided a release for some pent-up indignation among people who are not far-left fanatics, and it provides a focus for some political forces that were heretofore not represented in any disciplined way. If it fails that will be because the far right has taken it over, but it has a chance of succeeding by providing representation for the center-right. Ve vill Zee, as they used to say on the boob-tube.


Joe Madison, host of The Black Eagle radio show, said:

It hasn't. They are mostly Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats that are oppose to an African American being in the White House and Chair of the RNC. They are also extremist who are trying to move the country to the far right. They will not elect a single official and with help to split the Republican vote in November.