The Great Middle is the Tea Party

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Analyzing various results from the elections, one of the most surprising results of all is that the republican sweep wasn’t only due to the “enthusiasm gap” between republicans and democrats, but also because the independents have swung deep towards the republican candidates. The last time we saw something like this was when Reagan took the white house in ’80 and ’84.

The Tea Party is to blame for this. This is because the Tea Party is a moderate movement. Let me say that again: it is a moderate movement.

I know it’s hard for leftists to get this. After all, the Tea Party, to them, looks to be republicans in drag. Keep in mind that the Tea Party appears to conservatives as liberals who can’t make up their mind whether rights are natural or granted by government. That means they are in between the two camps—they are the moderates.

The people who are most likely to affiliate or lead Tea Party groups are not republicans. As a strong republican myself, I can attest to this. I like the Tea Party, I endorse the Tea Party, but frankly, I’m too busy playing party politics to engage in the Tea Party. And I find, honestly, that some people in the Tea Party don’t understand certain fundamental conservative principles, although they are figuring it out as they go along.

The one time I did go to a Tea Party, I was overwhelmed at how few people identified themselves as republicans. In fact, as a hard-core republican conservative, I felt out of place there! This was no caucus or party convention. This was an entirely different group of people who merely tolerated the republicans who showed up but who didn’t want much to do with us.

You can take the country’s independents and divide them into, roughly, three groups. There are those who are so extreme that that they are too extreme for either party. These people do not associate with the parties and probably don’t even vote since they believe the entire thing is a giant farce and republicans and democrats (from their viewpoint) are the same. I believe about 10% of our country falls in this camp. As long as they don’t vote, I don’t care what they think or say. When one of them picks up the pen to vote, then I’ll pay attention and maybe engage them.

The great middle, between the two parties and far away from the extremists, is occupied by a bunch of people who want something from the political system, but cannot find it in either party. They can identify the differences between the two parties, but then they also identify the differences between the parties and themselves.

Every election cycle, they know they have to vote, but they are likely to lean one way or another depending on the mood and depending on how the parties presented themselves. Usually, they don’t find a lot to agree with in either party, so they have to pick the “lesser of two evils” and hold their nose and vote. Depending on which way they lean, that party will win, sometimes by more and sometimes by less.

The Tea Party represents a group of issues that the vast majority of Americans are united on. They also represent this independent spirit that doesn’t feel any loyalty to a party and simply wants candidates to be candidates. They don’t want massive government debt, they don’t want massive taxes and massive spending, and they all want a smaller government. (Even democrats largely agree with this. Ask them!)

In addition to that, the Tea Party see the wave of illegal immigration and the coddling of these people by both parties and they want to simply enforce the law. Americans don’t mind immigration, and for the most part, we don’t care about trade issues and the importation or exportation of labor. We do care about the law, however. The general sentiment I’ve seen is that if we need these immigrants, let’s bring them in legally, over the table, rather than allow them to suffer as second-class residents and demi-slaves under the table.

The final issue is all the stupid laws we have today. We over-regulate everything, from business to toilet paper. The government simply doesn’t need to do that, and by doing so, they are destroying the country. Everyone knows this and the vast majority agree with it. We didn’t get to where we are by having a referendum on whether the law books should be a million pages thick. We got here by adding laws one on top of another without anyone paying attention to how deep they were piling.

I know that people try to characterize the Tea Party movement as a reactionary or revolutionary organization. (And that’s the only charge that makes in a sense.) In a way, it is. It is a reaction to the stupid way we have our politics organized today, and a revolution against the current established politicians, from both parties. (As for being racist, the charge is absurd.) But the Tea Party represents something unheard of in politics—the voice of the people, without any leaders to channel it or direct it. The issues the Tea Party stands on are extremely popular all over America. A pure Tea Party candidate would be unstoppable in today’s political economy. (Who do you think Sarah Palin really is, anyway?)

Senate Minority Leader (and soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell doesn’t realize it, but he’s drawing a big, red bullseye on his back by not kow-towing to the Tea Party movement. Perhaps he thinks six years is long enough. I think he’s underestimating the American people. Once a generation gets involved in politics, they never completely disengage. That’s why you see the baby boomers voting all the time and doing the lion’s share of the political work. They got involved, and never disengaged.

Minority Leader John Boehner gets it and had already made signs that he is going to cave into every demand the Tea Party can think of, and then some, for good measure. He’s already realized the Republican Party is no longer functional, because the Tea Party has moved in and taken over.

The polls don’t lie. If you want the 1/3 of the American population in the middle to vote for you, you have to endorse the Tea Party, and not just with words but action. Whoever successfully does this without offending their base will have, effectively, 2/3 the electorate behind them, and watch as the other party disappears.

The Democratic Party made the biggest blunder in the political history of the United States by failing to pay obeisance to the Tea Party. I strongly doubt they will exist as an effective party for much longer if they continue on this road. If they’re comfortable with a handful of senate and house seats, and maybe a governorship here and there, that’s fine. Over time, they’ll come to realize that the liberal movement is dead unless it can hitch its wagon to the Tea Party movement.

The Great Middle all the candidates were supposed to be working on wooing? Yeah, it turns out it’s the Tea Party.

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