The latest GOP primary: What’s next for the tea party?
The Tea Party movement has been on the rise in recent years, with more than 200,000 members and affiliated groups across America.
This year, it is taking on its most powerful opponent yet, with Republicans vying to replace retiring Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in the fall.
With Republican candidates already running for Congress and the presidential race in full swing, the party is set to play a pivotal role in determining the 2016 election outcome.
But the tea partiers’ rise in the past few years is taking a toll on the GOP establishment.
With the GOP now holding just 30 Senate seats, and fewer than a dozen House seats in play, the tea parties have been unable to win back the majority of its power, particularly in key swing states.
In the wake of the GOP’s collapse in the 2014 midterm elections, President Donald Trump began pushing a populist message that appealed to many Tea Party voters.
Trump has tried to woo many Tea Partiers by offering tax cuts and a new defense policy, and he has used the tea movement’s image of government shutdowns as an excuse for his administration to not follow through on the promise to overhaul the tax code.
However, as Trump’s populist rhetoric has become increasingly common, the GOP leadership has taken a tougher line on the tea PARTIES, even though the GOP holds only a slim majority in the Senate.
In response, the Tea Party has gone from being a fringe political movement to a powerful one.
In recent months, Tea Party-aligned groups have begun using their influence within the GOP to try to sway lawmakers, according to Republican National Committee (RNC) member and former Florida Gov.
Jeb Bush, who is running against Sen. Marco Rubio (R), a staunch conservative.
“The tea party is now more powerful than it has ever been,” Bush said on Fox News.
“The conservative movement, the conservative movement is more powerful today than it’s ever been.”
But for those who have been part of the tea Party for years, the political stakes are much higher now.
The party is on the cusp of its first midterm election since 2005, and the Tea Parties latest victories are only likely to fuel the party’s already-growing power.
The tea parties biggest successes are the ones that have already occurred, as well as the ones the party could potentially lose.
For instance, in the 2016 Republican primaries, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, the founder of the American Conservative Union, won more than one-third of the vote in Iowa, Texas, South Carolina and Nevada, according the latest FiveThirtyEight polling average.
But as the teapartiers have gained ground in recent elections, the organization’s members have largely backed Republican presidential candidates in midterm elections.
“If we don’t win Iowa, we are going to be very, very disappointed,” former Texas Republican Congressman Steve Stockman, the son of former Texas Gov.
Rick Stockman (R) told Business Insider.
“If we win Texas, we’re going to have to go home and we’re not going to win the election.”
The Tea Party is not a fringe movement, Stockman said, and it is “not the party of the billionaire class.
It is the party that represents the 99 percent of Americans.”
But the establishment has taken notice.
In a statement issued after the 2012 election, former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R–MN) called the Tea PARTies “one of the major players in the GOP” and said, “This is not an accident.”
Bachmann said that the Tea Parties success in the 2012 elections was an indictment of the establishment that had been trying to “steal the TeaParty from its grassroots supporters” in the name of a populist movement that “would bring down the Democratic Party.”
The Republican establishment is now trying to win over the Tea parties voters with the promise of a new and more conservative economic policy, the establishment says.
But in the eyes of many, this is an attack on the Tea party itself, with Bachmann and other tea partier leaders calling on the Republican establishment to “come home” and “stop trying to sabotage” the Teaparty.
Bachman said she wants the Republican party to take a hard line on social issues and that the party should “stop pandering to the extreme right.”
Bergman, who was once considered a contender for a White House run, said that Bachmann has “been trying to take us to the far right.”
But Bergman said that while the tea Partiers “don’t represent” the tea-party, the movement “is an incredible opportunity for us to have a better relationship with the conservative base of the Republican Party.”