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What is the Tea Party Movement

What is the Tea Party Movement

Some unexpected wins for Tea Party-backed candidates in the US midterm polls has left many people wondering, what the Tea Party movement is all about.
Abhijit Naik
If the Tea Party movement has only caught your attention recently, you are not alone. The party only came into the spotlight after some Republican candidates it backed, were elected in the midterm polls. Even the critics who dismissed it as just another political entity, which will fizzle with time, were taken by a surprise by the rate at which the movement grew ... or should we say 'is growing'.

Tea Party Movement

The Tea Party movement is a political movement in the United States, which has been sponsoring and coordinating numerous protests against the Federal government policies over the last couple of years. Their first protest rally was held on February 27, 2009, in various cities across the country. Even though most of their protests have been in favor of abolition of taxes and need of having a small government, several protests against government reforms in the field of healthcare and fiscal policies have also been executed successfully.

While the Party is not a full-fledged political party as such, it has supported Republican candidates in various elections. Even today, the Tea Party doesn't have any central leadership like most of the political parties do. It is basically made up of several local and national groups who have come together on a common platform. Some of the major groups of this movement are Tea Party Express, FreedomWorks, Tea Party Patriots, The 9/12 Project, etc.

What is Their Platform?

A platform is a document that states the aims and principles of a political party. Even though the Tea Party is not a full-fledged political party, it does have a platform which typically characterizes it as a populist, conservative, and libertarian entity. Some of the key principles that they endorse include lowering of taxes, reduction in government spending, reduction of the national debt and federal budget deficit, adhering to the originalist interpretation of the US Constitution, etc.

The placards reading 'NO Taxation without Representation', 'No Public Money for Private Failure', 'Solve Problems, Don't Sweep Them Under the Table', etc., which are often seen in their protest rallies highlight their stand in the society. It is this very ideology which prompts so many people to support the Tea Party movement by taking part in their protests or providing financial help to the movement.

Who Started the Movement?

Though there seems to be some confusion as to who actually started the Tea Party movement in the United States, most of the sources, including the members of the Tea Party itself, give its credit to a Seattle-based blogger and conservative activist, Keli Carender. Interestingly, when Carender started these Tea Party-styled protests, the movement was not recognized as the Tea Party movement. The name Tea Party was derived from the Boston Tea Party of December 1773, the most popular anti-government insurrection in the American history, wherein colonists objected to the tax imposed by British on tea and protested by dumping tea on the docked British ships into the water. Some of the well-known figures in Tea Party include Republican politicians Sarah Palin, Dick Armey, Glenn Beck, Sal Russo, David Koch, etc.

If you intend to join the Tea Party movement, you will have to get in touch with their local group in your area and become their member.