The two main political parties in the United States are the Republican Party and Democratic Party. The Republican Party is the more conservative of the two, and has long advocated for limited government spending. The Tea Party cannot be said to be an independent party with its own objectives; rather, it is an offshoot of the Republican Party that confronts issues which have not been directly addressed by the Republican Party’s leading officials.
Unlike the Republican Party which has been in existence for more than two centuries, the Tea Party evolved in 2009 when frustrated Republicans decided to form a group that would directly challenge high taxes and President Obama’s spending on issues like healthcare (Williamson, Scokpol, & Coggin, 2011). The Tea Party was not created to be a political party, but a protest movement made up of committed Republicans who felt that their own Party was not addressing their concerns in a satisfactory manner.
There is No Real Difference Between The Tea Party and The Republican Party
The Tea Party was created to increase the chances of candidates who are invested in Republican goals being elected into political office. The Tea Party movement’s slogan is Taxed Enough Already, and its candidates are mainly interested in ensuring that Americans citizens are not saddled with additional taxes for public programs (Williamson, Scokpol, & Coggin, 2011). Mainstream Republicans are concerned about the same issue. Tea Party activists have stated in the past that their main aim is to limit government spending, in order to prevent the US from accruing even more than its current $15 trillion in debt. Mainstream Republicans use this very slogan when campaigning for positions in public office. Both mainstream Republicans and Tea Party members also believe that tax cuts should be made for even the nation’s wealthiest citizens.
Officials of the Tea Party like Kentucky’s Rand Paul and Nevada’s Sharron Angle have called for the elimination of the Federal Reserve and Energy Department in the interests of limiting the government’s power (Knowles, Lowery, Shulman & Schaumberg, 2013). While mainstream Republicans support this objective, they are opposed to the methods that Tea Party members propose to realize it.
The Tea Party opposes all forms of immigration reform, and has applauded Arizona’s attempts to keep out illegal immigrants by drafting a law that bans illegal immigration. Mainstream Republicans are in full support of the same law. In regards to healthcare, Tea Party members believe that legislation such as the Affordable Care Act should be repealed, and new laws which are more practical instituted in its place (Zernike, 2010). Mainstream Republicans were vehemently opposed to this law when it was passed, and still campaign against it. Tea Party members, though, are unconvinced that mainstream Republicans will enact the necessary changes if they are elected into political positions. This is why the Tea Party chooses to support only the most committed of its members to campaign for public positions.
There is no real difference between the Tea Party and the Republican Party. It could be said that Tea Party activists are disgruntled Republicans who are prepared to engage in activism and civil disobedience to see the objectives of their party implemented by elected politicians. Mainstream Republicans do not always implement the changes they promise when campaigning. For instance, even though the Party is opposed to illegal immigration, its officials attempted to implement immigration reforms during former President Bush’s tenure. This caused the in-fighting that resulted in the formation of the Tea Party.
References Knowles, E. D., Lowery, B. S., Shulman, E. P., & Schaumberg, R. L. (2013). Race, Ideology, and the Tea Party: A Longitudinal Study. PLoS ONE, 8(6). Retrieved from http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0067110 Williamson, V., Scokpol, T., & Coggin, J. (2011). The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism. Perspectives on Politics, 9(1), 25-41. Retrieved from http://scholar.harvard.edu/files/williamson/files/tea_party_pop.pdf Zernike, K. (2010, Oct. 22). The Tea Party and the 2010 Midterm Elections. US Department of State. Retrieved from http://fpc.state.gov/149720.htm
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