Tea Party v. Establishment Fight May Intensify if GOP Regains Senate
Contrary to rumors that the Tea Party is in demise, if Republicans gain control of the Senate and retain control of the House after November, the Tea Party versus establishment battle may just be getting started.
Statistician Nate Silver gave the GOP a 60% chance of taking back the Senate, and the Los Angeles Times noted that the Tea Party is getting ready for its next phase of promoting policies to lower the debt and mitigate or repeal Obamacare.
Grassroots conservatives, having given the GOP its House majority back in 2010, felt snubbed when the establishment tried to blunt their influence. If the GOP controls both houses of Congress after November, the Tea Party will try to pressure leaders to champion more conservative policies, such as pushing for the "so-called penny plan, which would require annual cuts of 1% in government spending until the budget is balanced."
"We've definitely matured and have gone into what many of us call 'tea party 2.0,'" Amy Kremer, chairwoman of Tea Party Express, told the Times. "We no longer have protests in the streets, but we're working to elect people and affect legislation and do the things that really have to be done in order to effect change."
Grassroots conservatives will also try to simplify the tax code with a flat rate and "take the fight to repeal Obamacare to the state level, pushing legislatures to enter into interstate health compacts that they say would allow states to ignore federal regulations and enact their own reforms."
Those who attended the five-year anniversary of the Tea Party movement, which the Tea Party Patriots sponsored, heard about some of these agenda items from Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin.
Tom Balek, a small-business owner in Montana and Tea Party leader at the local level, said that "the tea party is not dead."
"The power that's there would surprise people who don't really know what's happening under the surface," he told the Times.
A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted March 5th to 9th found that "76% of tea party Republicans are very interested in this year's midterm election, compared with 36% among Republicans who do not identify with the movement." That means if the GOP gains control of the Senate, it will again be on the backs of grassroots conservatives, and they will be more vocal about demanding conservative policy solutions from their leaders in Washington to solve the country's fiscal problems.