Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Is the Tea Party Really Dead?

Today on primary day, pundits across America are watching the races of Lindsey Graham and Eric Cantor, in particular, to diagnose the health and well-being of the Tea Party.  This morning The Huffington Post sent out an email announcing that the Tea Party was facing big losses today.  Such pundits are going to wait until the end of the day to see whether either Graham or Cantor is forced to a runoff to determine whether this modern American conservative movement is officially dead or just on life supports.  And many conservatives will buy into the gloom and declare that the movement has failed.

Years ago I read that the main difference between liberals and conservatives is that liberals are willing to win incrementally.  No one has ever declared American liberalism to be dead, because it wasn't.  Even when Tip O'Neill remarked in dismay (and very correctly I might add) that Ronald Reagan had set the left's agenda back thirty years, he never ever doubted that the agenda would ultimately be fulfilled.  The left does not worry about losing today, because even if they lose today, they know they can keep pushing their agenda, reworking it, and reorganizing themselves until they finally do win.

The right, on the other hand, takes an "all or nothing" stance.  If we don't win everything we want today we declare ourselves the losers.  We need to take a page out of the other side's playbook and look at what we have accomplished.

The last five years gave us a GOP House, and could give us a GOP Senate this fall.  It is not a perfect House and it will not be a perfect Senate, but grassroots activism has pushed the GOP politicians to the right.  The last five years gave us Ted Cruz as the firebrand Senator from Texas and an activist Heritage Foundation that is now refuting big government and corporate lies.  The last five years have seen Barack Obama fall from grace as the perceived savior of the universe to poll ratings so low that a majority of Americans would not vote for a congressional candidate he endorsed.

Seventy percent of the new jobs created in this country are being created right here in the state of Texas--where conservatism is alive and well.  Texas is a living example that conservative, limited government brings prosperity and business growth.  We are a constant reminder that small government works.

The Texas GOP held their state convention last week and voted in a platform that was MORE conservative than the platform two years ago.  While many were dismayed and claimed that some of the principles--such as refusal to support drug legalization--are out of touch with modern society, the fact that such a platform could be approved in a state growing as rapidly as ours testifies to the truth that there are still many Americans who embrace conservative values.

What can we take away from all of this?  First of all, we need to remember that if we have not gotten everything we wanted, certainly neither has the left.  It is because there is no comprehensive climate change bill that Obama is trying to ram his climate change agenda down our throats via onerous EPA regulations.  The president is using his "pen and his phone" as fast as he can, but the simple truth is that executive orders and memorandums such as the one he signed today on student loan debt, are much easier to change than actual laws passed by Congress.  (In the case of today's memorandum, it will automatically expire at the end of his term).  In the end this is the difference between trying to actually repeal a massive law like Obamacare and simply electing a new president who will undo the executive orders.

Second, we need to remember our victories.  The runoff election between Chris McDaniel and Thad Cochran is a reminder that any candidate can be unseated; they just need the right opponent.  We need to keep working and pushing.  Two years ago it appeared that Lt. Governor David Dewhurst was a shoo-in to replace the very moderate old-guard Republican Kay Bailey Hutchinson, but then a bright young Senatorial candidate named Ted Cruz captured the spirit of conservatism and the rest was history.

Third, we need to stand strong and stand together.  In the same article celebrating the potential defeat of the Tea Party, The Huffington Post lamented that only 1 in 6 Americans is really interested in the 2014 Congressional elections and that the levels of interest are overwhelmingly higher with those who identify as "Tea Party" or "Republican" than those who identify as Democrats.  This means that when the dust clears and the GOP has its slate of candidates, the momentum is on our side--if we will get organized, get out and vote.  We don't have to win everything to win a lot.  2014 is ours to lose; let's not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her novel, The Planner, about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government implementing Agenda 21, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at http://www.frontier2000.net.

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