There is a lot of talk about the rise and fall of the Tea Parties. In the polls, the Tea Parties are only found to be favorable by 24% of those sampled. I want to give all a fair warning: THE TEA PARTIES ARE AS INFLUENTIAL AS EVER.
The Democrats, with the help of the media, has done a very good job of defining their opponents in the most unfavorable way possible. While the Tea Parties struggled for funds because of the IRS refusing to grant tax exempt status, the Democrats were free to define the Tea Parties as extremists. People have a vision of Tea Party folks as gun totin’, bible carryin’, radicals in cowboy boots and hats, waving the American flag while spewing hate speech against anyone who is different or disagrees with them.
The problem for the Democrats is when the Tea Party speaks, people listen and agree with what they hear. The majority of people may not want to be associated with the Tea Parties, because of the way the groups are defined by the media, they hear and agree with the message the Tea Party delivers. A government that works for the people, a smaller government, a country ruled by the Constitution, individual rights and responsibilities, are just a few of the Tea Party ideals that attract wide support from the “silent majority.” That majority is still out there, even if they don’t realize they are Tea Party in spirit.
Let me give you a little example of what I’m saying. This is a situation that happened in Pennsylvania without any special media coverage of the results other than just recording the vote. In the Pennsylvania 28th Senatorial District, incumbant Mike Waugh (R) resigned from office to take a position in private industry. The Lt. Governor, Jim Cawley (R) called for a special election. Those interested in running for the seat for their political parties were to submit resumes to the County Chairmen who would select the candidate for their party.
This district is in the eastern part of the state. The Republicans have been in office for most of the past two decades. The population of the district is 50% Republican, 37% Democrat, with the rest scattered among Independents and other fringe parties.
The GOP establishment wanted to fill the seat before the May 20th primary to put in office an establishment Republican to keep Scott Wagner, a Tea Party favorite, from winning the seat. Wagner, the President of Penn Waste, had run unsuccessfully for office before as a Tea Party favorite. Running against a new incumbant, who had no track record, would be very difficult.
The Republicans picked Ron Miller, an incumbent member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, as the Republican candidate. Scott Wagner decided to run as a write-in candidate. He mobilized hundreds of Tea Party volunteers across the district to work on his behalf. The State GOP spent millions running ads for Miller, many negative against Wagner.
Pennsylvania has computer voting machines, so running a sticker campaign was not possible. Now voters have to manually type in the write-in name in the correct line. The final vote: Wagner 47.7%, Miller 26.6% and the Democrat 25.7%. This shows the Tea Party is alive and well. The media reported the totals but neglected to tell you the story. I just did.