March 13, 2017

WHERE'S DICK ARMEY WHEN YOU NEED HIM?:

The Left Might Have A Hard Time Replicating The Tea Party's Success (Clare Malone, 3/13/17, 538)

[T]he left doesn't necessarily have all the elements that the tea party did, elements that translated into electoral success in 2010. While the Trump resistance movement undoubtedly has enthusiasm, a number of structural differences from the conservative grassroots movement could lead to challenges down the road.

And the left has indeed been looking to the tea party template for inspiration. The authors of the now-popular "Indivisible" guide for the grassroots left to organize against Trump, specifically cite the success of the group in their call to action: "The authors of this guide are former congressional staffers who witnessed the rise of the tea party. ... We saw them organize locally and convince their own MoCs [members of Congress] to reject President Obama's agenda. Their ideas were wrong, cruel and tinged with racism -- and they won."

But what made the tea party successful, according to Theda Skocpol, a Harvard professor whose field studies of the tea party movement became a 2011 book, was a particular climate on the political right. "We thought of the tea party as a set of several intersecting forces that were leveraging each other and helping to build each other's clout to change and use the Republican Party," she said. Self-organizing grass-roots groups, top-down professional advocacy and money groups, such as FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, along with right-wing media, swirled together to make the movement a success, according to Skocpol. It remains to be seen if the climate on the left will prove to be hospitable for the growth of a similarly effective movement.

Posted by at March 13, 2017 8:48 AM

  

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