Why the Republican Party Can’t Win Without the Tea Party

Consider the implications of this Cliff Kincaid column for a moment and its relevance to the Republican Party/Tea Party debate.

While Republican strategist Karl Rove was raising $300 million for television ads depicting Republican candidate Mitt Romney as a would-be efficient manager of the U.S economy, Bird said the Obama for America operation assembled a network comprised of more than two million volunteers, backed by neighborhood political teams and 2,700 field organizers. The local offices were critical to mobilizing the volunteers, he said.

Jeremy Bird said that OFA volunteers made 146 million “door knocks and phone calls” for Obama in order to try to get them out to the polls, and conducted a voter registration program that “changed the electorate” by increasing the turnout of minorities and others favorable to Obama. Bird noted that the Obama campaign had another program, Operation Vote, which focused on getting “core constituencies” to the polls.

Now the Republican Party can try to counter this in two ways.

1. Build up its own community organizer network made up of non-profits linked to conservative religious institutions and advocacy groups that replicate the liberal formula of creating grant-funded community groups that act as political interfaces with entire communities. These groups help residents get benefits and navigate problems with the government. For those who don’t like the benefits part, those groups also provide tax assistance and a variety of similar services. And these groups would target non-minority rural populations that are underserved and do not turn out to vote in sufficient numbers.


2. Use its own grass roots as volunteers. And the Tea Party is the country’s largest conservative grass roots movement.

The problem is that grass roots movements believe in things. They can turn out large numbers of volunteers who passionately believe that they are making a difference, rather than serving the system.

Would Obama have gotten as many volunteers without gay marriage, ObamaCare and the unilateral DREAM amnesty? Probably not. And Republicans who hope to get massive numbers of volunteers on the ground need to stand for actual conservative issues that they intend to implement.

A Republican Party that caters to an establishment elite is never going to be able to replicate the radical left’s organizing efforts.

So there are two choices here. Organize and radicalize or lose. The Republican Party can no longer win a race against a radical leftist without the Tea Party.

  • cynthia curran

    Sorry, folks if the tea party picks immirgant mild Marco Rubio we got to have hispanics the hispanic votes then I will pick someone else. The tea party was on Mitt for Romenycare but he stated about the self-deporation of illegal hispanics and the elites got mad. Rubio thinks self-deport of illegal immirgants is too harsh.

    • Mindy Robinson

      Won’t happen. He is not a natural born citizen.

    • just a guest

      many times i've heard him say the magic words about making sure we have a secure border, but, then when the soundbite is about over, he slips in some humanitarianism platitudes about how these people are human beings and we really really really really really really have to try to be understanding of their situation, blah, blah, blah, blah, [almost asleep now] AMNESTY
      and hey, WTH, if we give amnesty to the kids who are here through no fault of their own, then how could you be such a dirty, rotten scondrel of a POS scumbag to even THINK about sending their loving parents who want nothing but the best for them BACK HOME

    • Sharon Jeanguenat

      Whoever the GOP picks will be a waste. I am no longer a Repub, but am an evangelical patriotic tea partying American

  • Mary Sue

    The Republican Party trying to distance itself from the Tea Party is like saying "YES, there IS no difference between Republicans and Democrats."

  • Mary Sue

    The Republican Party trying to distance itself from the Tea Party is like saying "YES, there IS no difference between Republicans and Democrats."

  • W. C. Taqiyya

    Sorry Charlie, that dog don't hunt. The tea party is mostly hot air, forget about them, they gone. Glen Beck blew that balloon up until it burst. Another opportunistic Mormon. No problem, he saw his chance and capitalized. Romney didn't, in my view, expect to win, but he didn't mind because he knew he could make more money if he lost. Anyway, the philosophy of the tea party, what little there was to it, was weak. Taxed Enough Already has the ring of pig iron. What does it mean? Does it mean please don't tax me anymore, but I'm just happy as heck to pay what I'm paying? Not much there to cheer about is there? Beyond taxes the tea party had nothing. Forget about them. Sarah Palin? That selfless women is busy making money writing insipid books, appearing on TV, pretending to be a frontier woman and getting her kids on game shows. A joke. But, I digress.

    Here's the kicker. Even if I am wrong about the tea party, even if they exist and even if they mobilize, who are they going to appeal to? Most voters agree with most of the liberal lineup of issues. We even see many front line Republicans waving the white flag, many of the so-called tea party politicians are retired or soon will be and the demographic they can appeal to is who? Besides the decrepit tea party, who is there? Face it fellas, the tea party is partly actual private sector workers paying taxes. But, and this is key, many of them also depend on the government for their paychecks. Like the bulk of America, they need their government job or their company needs that government contract. They will not vote for a reduction in real spending, they can't. That boat has sailed.

    Which leads to the good news. There is none. What happens next is what happens when you push a hay wagon down the mountain, it gathers speed and hits some bumps and then it hits the rocks and smashes into pieces. Somewhere along that short trip and continuing thereafter we get us a good old fashioned dictatorship. The mobs with the most guns and the most proficiency for extreme violence will win. Well, the leader of that mob will win. Let's all try to enjoy the ride, shall we?

    • Ar'nun

      So your brilliant idea that took up so much space in this comment section is to "give up"??? Cheer up pal, and rest assured that not everyone has given up like you.

      • Mindy

        I am guessing he is a troll, he is trying to make folks lose hope. Only a lib would make a comment such as this person. Say thank you to him though, consv don't quit , they don't lose hope and this type of comment gets some up in arms – he is helping not hurting us.

    • T_Trent

      Actually, you're wrong on several points, though I don't disagree with your final analysis of our condition.

      The victory was a squeaker, down to very few votes, relatively, in swing states where the Tea Party is already regrouping. We'll be back. What the Tea folks have accomplished in a few years is extraordinary. It is the most interesting political movement in generations. I only wish John Updike was alive to explain it to us, as he explained Reagan to infuriated intellectuals.

      Cliff is right — the fatal flaw in the Romney campaign was the refusal to address values. People stayed home for two reasons — Romney didn't speak to them in terms of job security, or Romney didn't speak to them in terms of social conservatism.

      What I hear mostly on the ground is this: people need to know that rapacious Democrats and rapacious RINOS will not further exploit the possibility of importing cheap labor or exporting jobs. They want their kids to have chances for both blue collar and white collar futures (thus the problem with Rubio, who is playing both sides of that issue — we are learning fast in Florida where his values lie).

      People need loyalty and realize that we all need to reinforce certain values and stabilize the culture. Social conservatives (and socially conservative libertarians) are a large voice in this movement, and they do not happen to conform to the usual stereotypes in person. Interesting times.

      One of the other curious –frankly unique — things about Tea Party politics is that these folks are willing to make sacrifices in order to control the power of government. They are depicted as being fools, or worse, for doing this. It has become frankly inconceivable to simply say no to the federal government. But it turns out that the world doesn't end when you do so.

      For instance, Tampa (a local example for me) did not collapse into the sea when Gov. Scott rejected federal funding for an unnecessary Tampa – Orlando train. We already have one that is underused, by the way, but the regional planners and everyone in the media behaved as if it was the coming of the anti-Christ that he turned them down. The hysteria was tangible. The rage was extraordinary.

      We survived. And by doing so, it taught a lesson the big government folks did not want anyone to learn.

      When I speak to Tea Party groups, I'm no longer amazed by the number of retired teachers, professors, and social workers in the room, in addition to the expected businesspeople. There are a lot of people in the Tea Party who worked in professions that are largely considered to be liberal, who are showing up because they had a real stake in trying to tamp down social decay and saw firsthand what didn't work.

      Go ahead and make fun of Glen Beck — I have conservative friends who don't think much of him either. He is also quite interesting. They have Noam Chomsky — we have an ex-alcoholic Mormon convert who runs an amusing radio show during the day and an entire television station at night. I like our odds.

    • Mindy

      You are a lib troll, just guessing. Your little book will not have the intended affect. Consv don't quit and trolls such as yourself help get some consv up in arms so it helps the consv movment. So little troll , keep up the good work! Thank You

  • Ar'nun

    "And Republicans who hope to get massive numbers of volunteers on the ground need to stand for actual conservative issues that they intend to implement."

    As long as they don't try and make abortion the big issue. We need to consider it settled and if abortion is truely that important to some people than you need to try a different tactic. As long as the Republicans/TEA Party focus on fiscal and foriegn policy Conservatism, then it will work.

    Weather for or against gay marriage and abortion, it can't matter. It is now nothing but a tactic for Dems and the media they control to spin it any way they can into something bigger than it needs to be.

  • davidfarrar

    Does anybody know if there is a Constitutional difference between an Art. II, §1, cl. 4 natural born Citizen and a pre-revolutionary war English, common law, natural born subject?

    ex animo

  • Loyal Achates

    Can't win without the Tea Party? The GOP lost WITH the Tea Party.

    • Mindy

      And they don't have a prayer without them. This run was close , without tea party and other movement groups they have nothing.

    • CountMontyC

      Wrong. Romney was not a Tea Party candidate and spent a significant of time,money and energy actually trying to create separation between himself and the Tea Party

  • Courage2win

    Obama didn't win in a landslide. In fact, he actually lost quite a few of his 2008 supporters. The Tea Party crosses all demographic lines – young/old, wealthy/middle class, male/female, white/black. Glenn Beck got more than a million of them to DC for a peaceful demonstration – what Liberal individual has ever been able to do that? Sarah Palin and Rush are also capable of drawing those kinds of numbers. So Conservatives have a solid grassroots base that is more reliable & determined than the uninformed college students, union thugs, and atheists who make up Obama's base. Our base is strong & out there if we just pull them together and mobilize them. Conservatives also include huge numbers of military, both active & vets, and evangelicals, both young and old. Support issues important to our actual base, and we will defeat whatever far-left loser the Dems run in 2016, 'cause they ain't got another Obama in the wings, folks. And forget Hillary- she'll be 69 and almost 70 by then, and idiot boy Biden will be 74. Pelosi & Reid are already showing signs of senility. We need to mock the non-issues the Libs always rant about, like free contraception, global warming, food police, , etc. and treat questions about abortion & gay marriage with a "whatever" attitude. Let the churches take on those issues. We can (and, I'm certain, WILL) win in 2016 if we do this. It's past time to put the children of the Liberal Left in their place, just as we did with the "hippie movement" of the 60s &70s with Ronald Reagan.

  • mrethiopian

    First you tell us that the Democrats won this election because of the laws implemented by president Obama and that the Democrats mobilized better then the Republicans then at the end you state the only way the GOP will win another election is if the GOP "Organize and radicalize" . Did I miss something? did you have more content that you removed from this write up? Radicalize?? what is meant by that? no wonder the GOP lost with with ideas like that, no one understand what your talking about.

    The GOP lost because the RNC picked the weaker candidate, early on in the primary Dr.Paul was winning 18 states to Romney s 11, the RNC picked Mitt and did what ever possible to diminish the publicity that Dr.Paul was winning and even went as far as financing Mitt before his was actually picked, this goes against the RNC own rules. If the RNC is not going to let Americans pick the candidate they want then why even have an election, its our choice not that of the RNC or the GOP, till this is fixed the unity is broken, the trust is gone and the GOP is dead.

    Harsh words for a harsh time in America, give the vote back to America.

    MrEthiopian – Registered Independent.