NTPA Alert: Splitting the Tea Party

Splitting the Tea Party

Not since the formation of the Republican Party in 1855 has a political movement made such an impact in as brief a time period as the Tea Party movement. After all, within a few years the Republican Party had taken control of several northern cities and had elected a President by 1860.

One of the reasons for this early success by the GOP was that it was a movement founded principally around a single idea, the abolition of slavery; thus bringing together a relatively diverse coalition of Americans under one tent, all fighting for the same idea.

However, by the 1870’s the party’s quick success had created a significant level of factionalism that caused an identity crisis which lasted for decades. It’s an important lesson for the Tea Party movement.

Last week, a two-day gathering of conservative activists called the “Faith and Freedom Coalition” met in Washington D.C. in an attempt to bring together evangelicals and Tea party voters in a united front against the Obama Administration. The gathering was attended by nearly every Presidential contender in an attempt to build their own coalition of suporters.

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, a former chair of the RNC and briefly a rumored candidate himself said, “In politics, purity is the enemy of victory,” said Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a former Republican national chairman. “We can’t start out with the idea, as the Faith and Freedom Coalition, that our candidate’s got to agree with me on every single thing. We cannot expect our candidate to be pure. Winning is about unity.”

However, FFC founder Ralph Reed said “he wasn’t overly concerned that tea partyers and evangelicals would balk at supporting a nominee they considered insufficiently conservative, because of their desire to defeat Obama.

He did say the GOP would be in trouble if it did not find a way to make inroads among younger voters, women, Latinos, African Americans, Asians and other minorities. To win in the future, Republicans must practice “the politics of addition, not subtraction, and grow the pie,” Reed said.”