Tea Party Platform - The Platform of the Tea Party Movement

Tea Party Movement

The History of the Tea Party

The Tea Party Movement has grown quickly as an American grassroots movement aided by social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook as well a viral videos. The loyal following grew to include many who felt taxes and spending were excessive and leading to the country’s demise. 

Santelli Viral Video Responsible for Rise of Tea Party Movement

CNBC reporter Rick Santelli is often credited with the birth of the modern-day Tea Party movement. It all happened when he was reporting live from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on February 19, 2009 and began expressing his disgust for a government proposal to assist homeowners who were facing home foreclosures refinance their home mortgages.

“Do we really want to subsidize the losers’ mortgages?” Santelli asked, adding “This is America! How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills?”

Santelli then said that he wanted to organize, in July of 2009, a Chicago Tea Party so that capitalists could dump “some derivative securities into Lake Michigan.” A video of Santelli’s rant went viral on the internet on YouTube and within weeks the era of Tea Party protests all around the United States had begun.

However, giving Santelli all the credit for the birth of the modern-day Tea Party movement wouldn’t really be fair since others had been conducting similar protests, laying the groundwork for the grassroots movement to really take hold. 

Below is a date by date Timeline of the Tea Party Movement which accounts for the other people who have played a role in the rise of the Tea Party movement.

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Timeline of the Rise of the Tea Party Movement

1990s - During this decade and even earlier anti-tax protesters were known to use the theme of the Boston Tea Party as a rallying point for Tax Day protests (on April 15).

December 16, 2007 - Ron Paul, a Republican Party Congressman, commemorates the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party as part of a fundraising event for the presidential primaries. Among the issues advocated were an end to the Federal Reserve System and fiat money. Also advocated was an upholding of States’ rights and an end to U..S. involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.

January 24, 2009 - Trevor Leach who was serving as the Young Americans for Liberty in New York chairman was the organizer of a “Tea Party” protest against more than one hundred taxes (including an “obesity tax”) being proposed by the state’s governor, David Paterson.

Also protested was the government’s overspending. Some of the protesters at this event were adorned with the traditional headdresses of Native Americans like the colonists in the original Boston Tea Party wore during their protest when they threw tea in the Boston Harbor to protest British taxation. 

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February, 2009 - A conservative Seattle blogger named Keli Carender organizes a protest which did not use the term “Tea Party” but carried a similar theme. 

The protest took place in Seattle on February 16, 2009 on the day previous to the signing of the stimulus bill by President Obama. Carender called the event a Porkulus Protest and it was attended by about 120 people though they only had four days notice at most.

Among the many calls Carender made to draw interest to the event was a call to Michelle Malkin who was a contributor to Fox News and a conservative author. Carender requested that Malkin use her popular blog to publicize the event.

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February 27, 2009 - Carender holds a second protest and the attendance is more than double of the first protest.

April 15, 2009 (Tax Day) - Twelve hundred people gather for a Tea Party protest.

February 19, 2009 - Rick Santelli, a Business News editor for the CNBC television station, is broadcasting live from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange when he began commenting negatively on the government’s plans to refinance mortgages in the U.S., which had been announced by the government on the previous day.

Among Santelli’s comments were claims that the government was “promoting bad behavior” because it was subsidizing the mortgages of “losers.” During his complaints about the government program Santelli suggested to his viewing audience that they should all hold a “tea party” on July 1, 2009 so the traders could dump their derivatives in the Chicago River. 

The traders who were near Santelli on the trading floor cheered when they heard his comments and the show’s hosts in the CNBC studio also displayed amusement at his comments. A video of this then became viral on the internet after it was shown on the Drudge Report.

Within a day a website called ChicagoTeaParty.com was live on the internet (the site was originally registered in August of 2008 by Zack Christenson, a radio producer in Chicago) and the website reTeaParty.com was purchased with the goal of coordinating Tea Party protests and demonstrations that were being organized for July 4, 2009. 

Santelli’s comments on the trading floor and the resulting publicity is believed by most to be the primary event that led to the rapid rise of the modern-day Tea Party movement and the coalescing of many people around the term “Tea Party” to signify a distaste for particular government actions.

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February 20, 2009 - A Facebook page is set up to rally people to organize Tea Party protests nationally. The result was the coordination of a Nationwide Chicago Tea Party protest in forty different cities on February 27.

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February 27, 2009 - The first modern-day Tea Party movement to take place on a national scale occurs.

March 4, 2009 - The website reTeaParty.com is receiving substantial traffic reported at up to 11,000 visits per day. 

September 20, 2010 - Barack Obama attends a CNBC-sponsored town hall discussion during which he says that the challenge “for the Tea Party movement is to identify specifically what would you do” in regards to where spending should be cut. 

April 15, 2009 - Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House, talks at a new York City Tea Party rally.

January 19, 2010 - A special election to fill Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat leads to the election of Scott Brown who has significant Tea Party support.

April 13, 2010 - Tea Party supported Charles Perry is victorious in the GOP primary against an established Republican opponent, the incumbent Delwin Jones. Perry wins unopposed in the general election on November 2, 2010.

May, 2010 - Rand Paul, backed by the Tea Party, wins the Super Tuesday GOP Senate primary in Kentucky against established Republican Trey Grayson. Paul gets about sixty percent of the vote and states that the Tea Party movement is about “saving our country from a mountain of debt.” Rand goes on to win the Senate seat. 

May 8, 2010 - The established Republican Senator Bob Bennett from Utah is defeated in the GOP primary by Mike Lee, an attorney from Utah. Lee’s victory as seen as a Tea Party movement success as the Tea Party was against the return of Bennett.

June 8, 2010 - Established Republican party candidate Diane Gooch is defeated by Tea Party supported Anna C. Little in the New Jersey’s Republican congressional primary. 

July, 2010 - Michele Bachman, a U.S. Representative and a Republican from Minnesota, forms and chairs the House congressional Tea Party Caucus which focuses on the principles of the Tea Party movement including limited government, adhering to the United States Constitution, and insisting upon fiscal responsibility. In August of 2010 the Tea Party Caucus was comprised of forty-nine Republican representatives.

After the Caucus was formed Michele Bachman raised $10 million for the MichelePAC political action committee and funds were distributed to the election campaigns of Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Sharon Angle and Christine O’Donnell.

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August 24, 2010 - United States Senator Lisa Murkowski is defeated by Joe Miller, an Alaska lawyer with Tea Party backing. Murkowski had been appointed to the Senate seat by her father, Frank Murkowski, the state’s governor, who had held the Senate seat for three decades before becoming governor. Murkowski remained in the race as a write-in candidate and then won in the general election.

September, 2010 - The group Tea Party Patriots announces an anonymous one million dollar donation.

September 12, 2009 - A Taxpayer March on Washington is organized and Tea Party protesters walk towards the U.S. Capitol.

November, 2010 - In the midterm elections, nine candidates for the Senate and 129 candidates for the House receive significant Tea Party support. They are all Republicans and they upset established Republican party candidates in numerous primaries.

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Facts About the Tea Party Movement

The Tea Party is an American grassroots movement which is considered to be a populist movement of United States citizens advocating reductions in taxes and government spending. 

Other major issues of the Tea Party Platform include reducing the U.S. National Debt and the budget deficit of the government. May Tea Partiers advocate for adherence to the United States Constitution and in particular prefer an originalist interpretation of that founding document.

The name Tea Party refers to the Boston Tea Party of 1773 in which the colonists were protesting taxes on their tea by the British. The protest involved throwing tea from ships in the Boston Harbor into the ocean. The colonist’s rallying cry was “No taxation without representation.”

Because the modern-day Tea Party movement is not a registered political party it’s name has not yet appeared on any election ballots. The Tea Party movement does endorse candidates for elected office.

In the November 2010 midterm elections the Tea Party movement was shown to have a significant influence in helping the candidates the supported get elected. In that election all Tea Party supported candidates were members of the Republican party.

Because the modern-day Tea Party movement is a grassroots movement of local as well as national groups there is no one central leadership of the Tea Party movement. 

Each Tea Party group determines its own priorities and sets its own agenda, though there are loose affiliations between groups and communication for the purposes of organizing particular Tea Party Protests and Tea Party demonstrations.

Some of the rallying points for Tea Partiers and issues against which they rallied to protest include the bank bailouts, stimulus spending, and  health care reform. 

In most all cases the underpinnings of the Tea Party movements protests and demonstrations involve advocating for reduced federal spending, the elimination of deficit spending, and the need for politicians to listen to the will of the people.

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