I see from my morning email feed that Jim Geraghty has put into words just what I was fumbling towards:
Critics argued that the Tea Party movement was driven by a panoply of issues: opposition to Obamacare, outrage over the TARP bailouts, the threat of tax increases, the growth of government, concern about the national debt, among others. It was a fair criticism, but it was ultimately moot. Most members of the Tea Party unified around the idea of staunchly opposing what that guy in the Oval Office is doing.
The Women’s March on Washington Saturday certainly had its own smorgasbord of concerns: abortion rights, racial profiling, gay rights, opposition to deporting illegal immigrants, opposition to Islamophobia, workers’ right to organize, concern over global warming…
But as much as we on the right might chuckle at the contradictions – a lot of labor unions work in the industries that environmentalists would like to see shut down, and a lot of Muslims have views on gay rights that this movement would oppose – the people involved in Saturday’s marches will unify around the idea of staunchly opposing what that guy in the Oval Office is doing.
Fear is a powerful motivator; fear gets people’s butts up off their couches. When you have more people caring about what’s going on in Washington, you have more people who become interested in running for office. In 2010, Republicans suddenly had bushels of candidates – usually good ones – in places they rarely had one before: “After surpassing a goal to recruit 80 candidates in key races, Leader Boehner set a more ambitious objective of 100. At the end of the day, McCarthy and the team at the NRCC were able to help get a Republican on the ballot in 431 of the 435 House congressional districts.”
The Tea Party movement gift-wrapped a message for Republican candidates: Democrats in Congress had grown arrogant and out of touch, and were completely oblivious to the growing anger and dissatisfaction in their districts:
The townhall protests that erupted in August 2009 provided the first visible signs of the anger and frustration that Americans of all political parties were feeling. While Speaker Pelosi and other Democrat leaders criticized these citizens as “un-American,” the NRCC embraced the movement and highlighted the rude awakening that vulnerable Democrats were receiving with daily emails entitled “Recess Roastings.” Events held by Reps. Baron Hill (IN-09), Steve Driehaus (OH-01) and others became instant YouTube sensations and were proof that Democrats had a much bigger problem on their hands than they originally expected.
Throughout the Obama presidency, the Democrats desperately yearned for their own version of the Tea Party. They envied the crowds, the passion, the visible signs of grassroots opposition, cropping up across the country. You only demonize something if it matters.
It now appears that as the Trump presidency dawns, angry liberals are building something akin to the Tea Party movement. It will look different, it will be geographically concentrated in different areas, and of course, it will get much more sympathetic media coverage. But it will be there, and it could be a big factor in 2018 midterms. It’s also worth remembering that the Tea Party was ultimately a mixed bag for the Republican party. Yes, it brought them Mike Lee, Nikki Haley, Marco Rubio, Paul LePage, Trey Gowdy, Ron Johnson, etc., but it also brought Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Carl Paladino, and Richard Mourdock. An impassioned grassroots movement giveth, and an impassioned grassroots movement taketh away.
Geraghty's banner now reads: "Day Four of the Trump Presidency. Sky Status: Intact."


Grim said...

The TEA Party has a structural advantage, though, in that they mostly want to stop the government from doing things -- especially new things, but also many existing things it really shouldn't be doing. Opposing everything Obama wanted was a good first step on that project. They were always going to oppose any new thing anyway.

This new movement, whatever it will be, can get part of that benefit because they can reflexively oppose any attempts by Trump to shrink or dissolve Federal power. They'll have a lot more trouble falling in on mere reflexive opposition to his positive program, e.g., the infrastructure bills. Trump's program isn't the TEA Party program: it's not a Tenther project of shrinking the Federal government to its Constitutional functions. If it were, they could just oppose him all the time. Instead, he's got a big positive agenda that they're going to have to argue against.

douglas said...

Will they? With the MSM still firmly in their camp, they'll continue to be portrayed as righteous and wearing the white hats. Who will call them to argue anything? They may not oppose some things Trump does, but they'll oppose him in general no less fervently. He's the bogeyman come to life for them (of course, so is any Republican who's successful). They certainly won't have to defend themselves from bogus attacks of being depicted as racist, anti-Semitic, or violent as the Tea Party was, even if they actually are (Linda Sarsour).

Grim said...

It is a bit surprising to see people deciding to resist Trumpian patriarchy by adopting the American flag as a hijab, at the suggestion of an advocate of Islamist patriarchy. But hey, the whole idea of Tex's post was that they weren't yet coherent.

Gringo said...

It now appears that as the Trump presidency dawns, angry liberals are building something akin to the Tea Party movement.

So what else is new? There has been at least one previous attempt at building a left wing equivalent of the Tea Party movement. I refer you to Google search: coffee party USA.

Texan99 said...

But Coffee Party was astroturfed. I take this to be genuine.

I'm willing to grant that this group is no more incoherent than many early Tea Party rallies, but it remains to be seen whether anyone will do a good job channeling the energy into the only place it ultimately will make any difference, which is bringing new candidates into races. Squawking doesn't matter unless the office-holders you're squawking at genuinely fear being voted out of office. They've got a great opportunity here, because what are the odds that the Republicans, acting as a majority party with no fear of a veto, won't infuriate everyone in short order? We poke fun at Trump, but I think he knows how to sell an agenda. These clowns in Congress seem utterly incapable of it.

douglas said...

OMG. CNN literally had a segment today with someone at the rally asking people what it was about. They presented it like the answers were good, but it was all the same non-sensical drivel that goes nowhere like you'd expect. It's all- ALL- emotion, I tell you. I don't even speak their language.

Texan99 said...

Up-twinkles and down-twinkles. You just don't understand. I. Can't. Even. Where do I even start.

Ymar Sakar said...

Diff between astroturf and grassroots is the former has the money and the latter has the manpower. Combine the two and you get something Soros can buy out and approve of.

Logistics makes the critical difference as usual. There is also a subtle but important shift in conservative grassroots movements, that are older than the TP. Which I won't mention for now.