So, from every state and county and city people organized themselves. While it started out as a largely Republican development, its sincerity and effectiveness keeps winning more independents to its side.
CNBC's Rick Santelli probably did more than anyone to make the movement national when he criticized the government plan to refinance mortgages and suggested traders revolt by dumping derivatives in the Chicago River. By September 12 of that year, tens and tens of thousands of citizens came to the Capitol from around the country to respectfully demonstrate their unhappiness. The media seriously undercounted the extent of the gathering, ignored the way the participants had organized themselves to make sure everything was done legally and the grounds were kept spotless despite the huge number that gathered there. Instead, they focused in on a truly damned lie that charged some tea members with spitting and calling out racist epithets at Congressional Black Caucus members who with Nancy Pelosi had deliberately tried to provoke them.
B. 2010 Election
While the media drew the wagons around the Democrat politicians and protected them from having to fully and honestly face the anger of the voters, that anger grew. Low information types might have believed the cock and bull story about the racist epithets, but everyone who was there knew it was false. Even without the aid of the corrupted press, they told their friends and family and neighbors what had really happened, and they did what real Americans are better at that anyone in the history of the world: They lawfully organized themselves to get rid of those who had ceased to represent them.
As Wikipedia summarized the event that followed:
[T]he Democratic Party suffered major defeats in many national and state level elections, with many seats switching to Republican Party control. The Republican Party gained 63 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, recapturing the majority, and making it the largest seat change since 1948 and the largest for any midterm election since the 1938 midterm elections. The Republicans gained six seats in the U.S. Senate, expanding its minority, and also gained 680 seats in state legislative races, to break the previous majority record of 628 set by Democrats in the post-Watergate elections of 1974. This left Republicans in control of 25 state legislatures, compared to the 15 still controlled by Democrats. After the election, Republicans took control of 29 of the 50 State Governorships.
Political analysts in October 2010 predicted sweeping Republican gains this election, but despite a reported "enthusiasm gap" between likely Republican and Democratic voters, turnout increased relative to the last U.S. midterm elections without any significant shift in voters' political identification. The swaying views of self-declared independent voters, however, were largely responsible for the shift from Democratic to Republican gains.
C. The Media Kept Announcing the Tea Party was Dead, but like the Movie time Zombies, it did not Perish
The tea party went to work after 2010 at the state and local levels. This movement is a bottom up one, and unlike the multiple phony "grassroots" ops on the left (remember the hilarious ersatz "Coffee Party"), this one is genuine, responding as it must to the demands of the average citizen, not some overpaid apparatchiks operating out of fancy offices in the capital, handing out money and placards to moogs on the ground.
The most dramatic of the state efforts was that in Wisconsin, where despite an enormous infusion of Democrat and union money, extensive bullying and illegal conduct by the opposition, and outrageous shenanigans in the local courthouses, Scott Walker beat back an effort to recall him, and the Republicans seem to have largely succeeded in legislative and executive acts designed to make the state's management affordable and responsive to its citizens.
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