The Media’s Wishful Thinking About The Tea Party’s Demise

Todd Cefaratti Editor, Tea Party News Network
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Remember when, in 2010, after the tea party swept the House and regained seats in the Senate for the Republicans, the media tried desperately to downplay the upstart, grassroots movement?

Leftists called it “astroturf,” the purchased power of the corporate reprobates behind every obstruction of the left’s radical agenda. And now? Now the narrative that Democrats and their cohorts in the media are desperate to create is that the tea party is dead.

Save it; we’ve heard it all before.

It has always struck me as funny how leaders in the Democratic Party will dedicate so much time to trying to thwart the efforts of a group that they routinely label as a “fringe” group — a small, dedicated group of “anarchists” and “terrorists” who do not represent a true, large movement dedicated to advancing conservatism.

People like Senator Harry Reid and Representative Nancy Pelosi try to pretend that there is nothing to worry about from this lone band of rogues within the GOP, yet they dedicate themselves to combating the efforts of the Mike Lees, the Ted Cruzes, the Rand Pauls and the Tim Huelskamps — true leaders of the Republican Party and unapologetic tea partiers.

To people like Sen. Reid or President Obama, we in the tea party are simultaneously everywhere and nowhere. It’s a tremendous contradiction.

The tea party is dead? Look around — we’re millions strong and we’re angry. TheTeaParty.net, for whom I am the Freedom Organizer, boasts millions of members, 2.4 million followers on Facebook and a weekly “talking about us” that ranges from around 2 million to 6 million. Our audience is conservatively (no pun intended) estimated to range between 20 million and 40 million people.

Millions of Americans join tea party groups to help steer the country back on track, and they’re not going anywhere.

The Tea Party News Network, TPNN.com, is enjoying 15 million+ pageviews a month — not bad for a news site dedicated to a “dead” political movement.

TheTeaParty.net has also worked with members of Congress to host quarterly tea party caucus meetings in the House and Senate. Here, lawmakers meet to discuss how to advance conservative legislation and causes and move the GOP back to its conservative roots.

No wonder the left fears the tea party; we’re helping shape policy on the Hill.

The mainstream media has been trying their best to paint a narrative, hoping that by saying it, it will make it so. They have focused their attention on races the tea party lost and enthusiastically jumped to preach, “See?! The tea party is dead!”

Then again, these are the same people who said that we didn’t exist in 2010, that we were merely corporate shills.

Even in 2010, however, the tea party did not win 100 percent of the races. What political movement or political party has been immune to electoral defeat? It doesn’t happen.

The mainstream media has cleverly honed in on tea party losses while all but ignoring its victories.

In Florida last month, the tea party fought and won a tough race in Florida’s special election for the 19th district. In a bitter four-man race, Curt Clawson, the tea party candidate, emerged victorious.

The media was silent.

Earlier this month, West Virginia tea party candidate Alex Mooney won the Republican nod for the House.

That same day, Nebraska’s tea party candidate, Ben Sasse, won a tough three-man race for the Republican shot at the Senate.

Did the media loudly announce the tea party victories? Of course not; after two huge victories, the Associated Press’s headline for the coverage of the Sasse and Mooney victories the next day read: “Few Chances for Tea Party Victories in Upcoming Primaries.”

Days later, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell beat Kentucky businessman Matt Bevin. Despite Sen. McConnell having the backing of several prominent tea party groups, the ABC News coverage read the following day: “In Kentucky, Mitch McConnell Crushes Tea Party Challenger Matt Bevin.”

The tea party swept the state of Texas last week. Dan Patrick, Ken Paxton, Sid Miller, and Konni Burton all bested their moderate opponents, and the fourth estate took little notice. A tea party sweep just doesn’t fit their preferred narrative.

That same day, tea partier John Ratcliffe defeated incumbent Rep. Ralph Hall, the nation’s most senior Member of Congress — the first time an incumbent Congressman had been defeated in a runoff election since 1996.

Of course, the media had little to say about these victories and instead continually claim that the tea party is dead. However, Democratic strategist Doug Schoen had strong words of caution for those underestimating us: “This is a clear, unambiguous sign that activist conservatives in the Republican Party have a strong position that is not going away,” Schoen said. “This is a very clear sign that reports of the demise of the tea party are grossly exaggerated.

The truth is that there are fewer rallies these days, fewer angry assemblies outside capitol buildings. With tea party lawmakers dominating politics in Washington and tea party candidates duking it out with moderates in the primaries, if you ever wonder where the tea party went, just remember: we’re inside the building now, shaping the future of this country.