Tea Party movement

The Tea Party movement is an American political movement known for its conservative positions and its role in the Republican Party ("GOP"). It demands a reduction in the U.S. national debt and federal budget deficit by reducing government spending and taxes. The movement has been described as a mix of libertarian, populist, and conservative activists. It has sponsored multiple protests and supported various political candidates since 2009. It was successful in 2010, when the Republicans made major gains. It failed to defeat President Barack Obama's reelection in 2012. In 2013 it had escalating conflicts with the big business wing of the GOP, which began organizing to fight back. In the 2014 GOP primaries, the Tea Party's highest profile victory was the defeat of Eric Cantor, the #2 House leader who was attacked for being too close to Wall Street. The most serious defeat for the Tea Party came in Mississippi, where it failed in a bitter challenge to the renomination of Senator Thad Cochran. Commentators saw a "civil war" underway inside the GOP between Tea Party elements and the business-oriented establishment. CQ's Chuck McCutcheon says the fight is "whether the GOP should run candidates who are ideologically devoted to a strict limited-government agenda (the tea party's belief) or those with the broadest possible political appeal in their states and districts (the establishment's)."

Demonstrators at the U.S. Capitol celebrated the movement's five-year anniversary in February 2014. Various polls have found that slightly over 10% of Americans identify as a member.

The name refers to the Boston Tea Party of December 16, 1773. Anti-tax protesters in the United States have cited the original Boston Tea Party as their inspiration. References to the Boston Tea Party were part of Tax Day protests held in the 1990s and before.

The origins of the current Tea Party movement can be traced back to circa 2007. The movement's beginnings were kick-started by Republican Congressman Dr. Ron Paul in 2007. His GOP presidential campaign received a 24 hour, record breaking, money bomb on December 16, 2007; which is the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. This event directly contributed to creating a libertarian revival and divide in the Republican Party. Ron Paul continues to be a prominent force in the Tea Party movement, such as endorsing Tea party candidates, and also giving talks and speeches alongside prominent Tea party activist, and 2008 Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin. Palin had at times disagreed with Paul on foreign policy, but eventually changed her views on foreign policy and interventionism because of Paul's inspiration and stance on limited government. In 2012 she defended him against critics by saying, "[Paul's] the only one doing something about reining in government growth." Paul had a direct effect on changing other prominent Republicans' beliefs on the Federal Reserve. Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and many others changed their views about the Federal Reserve after hearing Paul's opinions on the matter.

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