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The Tea Party Isn’t Dead. It’s More Vibrant and Essential Than Ever.

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Unread 08.15.19, 10:43 AM
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The Tea Party Isn’t Dead. It’s More Vibrant and Essential Than Ever.

On 08.15.19 08:10 AM posted by Jenny Beth Martin

Rand Paul is mistaken.

It’s not often I say that, so let me explain.

Speaking on the Senate floor last month,Kentucky’s junior senator—elected with Tea Party support in his first run forpublic office in 2010—declared thefollowing in response to a massive two-year spending deal:“Today is the final nail in the coffin. The Tea Party is no more. … Adoption ofthis deal marks the death of the Tea Party movement in America.”

Give Paul credit for a flair for the dramatic.He can hyperbolize with the best of them. It’s one of the things we TeaPartiers love about him.

But to suggest that because a bunch ofpoliticians in Washington got together and did what politicians regularly do—thatis, conspire to serve their own interests rather than the interests of thelarger public—therefore “the Tea Party is dead,” is just silly.

Paul, of course, was not the only one tobemoan the “death” of the Tea Party last month. CNN, National Review, and othermedia outlets made the same mistake.

They all missed a fundamental piece of the TeaParty movement’s original set of principles and aims that continue on to thisday.

This is incredibly unfair to the millions ofAmericans who have put in hundreds of millions of volunteer hours over the last10 years, and who continue to work to restore America’s government to its constitutionallimits and founding values every day.

It is for them that I write this response.

Our movementis hardly “dead.” From getting President Barack Obama to sign the USA FreedomAct to seeing President Donald Trump first commit to pulling out of the IranNuclear Deal at one of our rallies, and then watching him fulfill thatcommitment as president, our successes have laid the groundwork for much morework to be done.

The gatheringdark clouds of socialism are a direct threat to everything our supportersbelieve in. Though it has failed as an ideology, it will still need to bedefeated again if more victories are to be won.

Let me back up and explain the beginning ofthe modern-day Tea Party movement, our core principles, and history over thelast ten years.

HowWe Got Started

After Rick Santelli’s rant on Feb. 19, 2009 onCNBC—wherein he declared his intent to hold a “tea party” to protest Obama’strillion-dollar “stimulus” bill—conservatives excitedly began to connect onTwitter.

Michael Patrick Leahy organized a conferencecall with nearly two dozen people who didn’t know each other. We discussed organizingthe first round of nationwide Tea Party protests.

It’s important to note that not only were mostpeople who started organizing in the early days strangers to each other, butmost had no experience as political activists.

As the months went by, more and more Americansjoined the movement, more protests were held, and local Tea Party leaderspulled together to form organizations like ours to pool information andresources.
Losing a battle does not somehow mean you’re “dead.” That really implies that there’s no hope and we should give up.
From the very start, we held weekly conferencecalls with Tea Party organizers all across the nation—a practice that stillcontinues. Through these calls, the nascent Tea Party website, and other onlineforums, concerned Americans debated—much as our Founders did—the meaning anddirection of the Tea Party movement.

After a massive amount of discussion, debate,and votes with thousands of participants, we agreed to the following principlesas the core values we would work to advance: fiscal responsibility, constitutionallylimited government, and free markets.

Clearly, fiscal responsibility is one of ourguiding principles, and as such, it is something we have fought for over thelast 10 years. We have been involved in many of the major budget and spendingfights of the last decade, and we have had wins and losses in those fights—includingthe fight over the current budget-busting bill just signed by the president.

But losing a battle does not somehow meanyou’re “dead.” That really implies that there’s no hope and we should give up.

I’ve got news for Sen. Paul and anyone elsewho thinks the Tea Party movement is dead: That’s just not how anyone in the TeaParty movement thinks.


When millions of us first got involved in the TeaParty movement, we had many expectations that proved to go unmet and held many assumptionsthat we learned were wrong.

Let me put it bluntly: We were naïve. Webelieved the Republican Party would be a true opposition party and that Republicanleaders meant what they said when they pledged to cut spending, repealObamacare, and build the wall (remember Sen. John McCain’sad?).

When we started getting antsy about resultsafter we helped deliver the historic 2010 win in the House of Representatives,and the seven-seat gain in the Senate (not to mention the massive number ofstate–level wins), we were told to be patient. After all, Republicans only heldone-half of one-third of the federal government.

When, in 2014, we helped the GOP recapture theSenate, we were told again to be patient about the lack of results because we stilldidn’t control the White House.

But then, when, against all odds, we helpedTrump win the White House while holding the Senate and the House, congressionalRepublicans didn’t even bother to try to send a fiscally responsible bill toTrump’s desk.

And who was it that single-handedly killed therepeal of Obamacare? None other than McCain.

I’m still angry about that and every other broken promise from theRepublicans, who vow every election to do what their voters want and then failto follow through.

Eventually, the grassroots began to realizethat everything we thought we knew was actually wrong.
Sometimes, it feels like we’re fighting the mythological Greek hydra: We cut off one head, only to find that two have grown in its place.
I remember being in Washington, D.C., one timein 2009 and thinking that the problems our country faced were confined withinthe buildings that make up the Senate, the House, and the White House—in otherwords, our elected leadership.

Years later, I came to understand that theproblems may have started there, but have expanded outward, and now encompassthe entirety of the federal bureaucracy: the departments, agencies, offices,and bureaus occupied and staffed by faceless, unelected, and (most importantly)unaccountable bureaucrats whose attitude when encountering a superior with whomthey disagree is, “I’ll be here after you’re long gone, buddy.”

Sometimes, it feels like we’re fighting themythological Greek hydra: We cut off one head, only to find that two have grownin its place.

It’s upsetting. It truly is, and that is why Idon’t begrudge Paul for lashing out, because I and millions of other Americansfeel the same frustration and anger with the out-of-control spending.

Overspending and the ever-increasing debt havecreated a crisis that threatens America’s future prosperity and security, andwe will continue to fight for spending cuts and reduced debt every chance weget.

But we are also committed to other issues thatthreaten the very foundation of our constitutional republic. On these issues,we’ve had real success.

TeaParty Victories

One example is the existential crisis of aradically out-of-control judiciary.

The judiciary has stolen authority and powerfrom the legislative and executive branches that the Constitution never gave tothe courts, and we are reaping the consequences of this at an ever-increasingpace.

Judges now rewrite statutes from the bench,use international law to make decisions, pervert and exploit the 14thAmendment, and have basically declared the Constitution unconstitutional. Wehave societal transformation without representation as a result of judicialtyranny.

Now, leading Democrats are pushing court-packingschemes reminiscent of FDR. They are demanding that the next Democrat presidentcreate new positions throughout the federal court system and on the SupremeCourt that would be filled with supporters of their leftwing agenda.

Not surprisingly, these are issues whichgreatly concern us.

Another example is the seemingly limitlesswaves of mass migration—mostly illegal—from third-world countries with peoplewho do not share American values or views on limited government, and who havelittle to no loyalty to America.

Fundamental changes to our society are now happeningand have been happening because we have de facto open borders—in large part dueto activist judges. It’s all an ugly circle of rot.

So, beginning in 2013, weworked hard to block the Gang of Eight’s amnesty bill, andwe’ve been working on border security and immigration reform ever since.

In 2014, Tea PartyPatriots produced “The Border Statesof America,” an hour-long documentaryabout the crisis on our southern border. Perhaps Paul hasn’t seen the film, butmore than a million of his fellow citizens have.

We continue to stand for a secure border, and we are proudto have helped elect and now work with a president who catapulted bordersecurity to the top of his agenda.
For 10 years now, Tea Party Patriots and its affiliated Super PAC and foundation have worked to organize, educate, and mobilize our fellow grassroots activists in support of constitutionally limited government.
In 2015, when thePatriot Act was being reauthorized, we worked with the ACLU and the NAACP tosupport elements of the USA FREEDOM Act, which enhanced U.S. security againstterror threats even as it enhanced privacy.

Later that year,when opponents of Obama’s terrible Iran nuclear deal were disorganized, it wasleft to us to organize the opposition rally on the west face of the U.S. Capitol.So we did. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Donald Trump—both of whom were runningfor the GOP nomination for president—spoke at that landmark rally.

In the fall of2017, we led the effort to put together a nationwide coalition of individuals,organizations, and small businesses to support the first successful tax reformin more than three decades.

To help educateour fellow citizens, we produced and aired a television ad featuring Dr. Arthur Lafferexplaining how Trump’s proposed tax reform plan was similar to the successfulReagan tax reform that Laffer helped author more than three decades ago.

More recently,we’ve produced another hour-long documentary called “Invalidated: The Shredding of the U.S.Patent System.” Available on iTunes and Amazon Prime Video, the documentaryrecently won the award for Best Documentary Feature at the 2019 Anthem FilmFestival, the annual screening of the latest libertarian films anddocumentaries.

In 2017 and 2018,we strongly supported the confirmations of Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh tothe Supreme Court. Our activists came to Washington, rallied, and worked withallied groups to lobby their senators in support of those nominations.

In 2018, we helped over 500 high school studentleaders organizewalkouts to stand for the Second Amendment in order to counter the liberalvoices in their high schools.

And, earlier thisyear, in honor of our 10th anniversary, our grassroots activists hosted “Stop Socialism Choose Freedom”rallies in more than 400 events around the country.

For 10 years now,Tea Party Patriots and its affiliated Super PAC and foundation have worked toorganize, educate, and mobilize our fellow grassroots activists in support ofconstitutionally limited government.

We hold those weeklyconference calls with hundreds of local group leaders I mentioned before, and nearlyevery week that Congress is in session we produce and air a Facebook Livebroadcast where we share important political and legislative news with ouractivists and answer their questions about the topics of the day.

We publish op-edsand guest columns on a weekly basis, and I long ago lost count of the number ofTV and radio appearances I’ve done to comment on the issues of the day.

Our issues are many: Tax reform. Intellectual property rights. Health care freedom. Border security and immigration reform. FourthAmendment protections for privacy rights. First Amendment protections for speech, press, and religion. The Second Amendment. Term limits. An end to Common Core. The Iran nuclear deal. The threat from China. Judicial nominations.

That’s a widevariety of issues—far broader than what Sen. Paul and others may be aware of thatthe Tea Party is concerned with. What do they all have in common? They’re allmanifestations of our determination to support a constitutionally limitedgovernment.

We’re a Both/And Organization

I’ll explain it thusly: We have always fought,and will always fight, for spending cuts and debt reduction, for fiscalresponsibility—note, here I am going to embrace the healing power of “and”—and, we have also ratcheted up the fightto protect and defend our Constitution, the foundation of our republic.

There are more fires burning than we realized when we jumped into the ring 10 years ago, but far from giving up or dying out, we’ve actually taken up additional issues that will make it easier to achieve other goals like fiscal responsibility. (For instance there’s no way to cut spending if we have open borders and “free” health care for illegal immigrants—or for everyone, for that matter).

Think of America as a house that has someserious issues. There is some drywall that must be replaced, some beams are rotting,and it needs a new roof. We have to address these serious problems as soon aswe can, but at the same time, we must fix the foundation to keep the house fromcollapsing.

Our Constitution is our foundation, ourbedrock, and right now in 2019, it is being severely neglected. Unless wechange that, the America set forth by the Framers will be gone, andoverspending will be the least of our worries.

Never,Never, Never Give Up

Over the years, we’ve heard stories fromvolunteer activists about pouring money and unimaginable amounts of time intotheir groups. People lost relationships with friends and even family. It’s notsomething that any of us take lightly.

But, as I mentioned earlier, I’ve never onceheard an activist suggest we give up, or that we must be “dead” because we losta fight.

I honestly can’t comprehend this line of thoughtbecause when Sen. Paul or others claim that the Tea Party is dead because we’velost some legislative battles, the logical conclusion to that thought is defeatand surrender.
I’ve never once heard an activist suggest we give up, or that we must be “dead” because we lost a fight.
But, what about our Founding Fathers and theRevolutionary War? What about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War? What about ourbrave boys in the two World Wars? What if Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelthad thought, “Well, we’ve been beat up a bit by some losses. I guess that meansour effort is dead and we should give up as a result.”

That would have been ridiculous, right?

We agree.

Furthermore, I would like someone to show me alist of political movements that get 100% of what they want at all times,forever. I find it interesting that literally since the beginning of the TeaParty movement, we have been proclaimed “dead” by various allies and opponentsalike.

What other movement or organization inAmerican politics is pronounced dead after a few losses, even as they also win victories?

Did anyone declare it was the end ofMoveOn.org when Trump was elected in November 2016? Did anyone say the AFL-CIOwas done for when Trump upset Hillary Clinton? And what about PlannedParenthood, or AFSCME, or NextGenAmerica, or the Human Rights Campaign Fund, ora hundred other liberal organizations I could name, each and every one of whichwas stunned and disappointed when Hillary Clinton lost to Trump? Was it “theend” for them?


What is the national obsession with playingthe role of the emergency room doctor calling the time of death in somehospital melodrama on TV as it pertains only to the Tea Party movement?

The left has wanted socialized medicine inthis country for decades, and every time they lost a big fight (think Hillarycarein the 90s), they didn’t lament their own demise and give up. They regroupedand came back again, and again, and again—and they’re still chipping away atour freedoms.

Losing some battles doesn’t mean it’s overunless you believe it’s over, and we don’t think it’s even close to over. Notto mention that so many left-wing organizations receive millions in taxpayerdollars, which they can then use to elect members of Congress to ensure theircontinued receipt of millions in taxpayer dollars.
Are we to be held to some standard that no other political movements are held?
We might be a little scrappy compared to, say,Planned Parenthood ($500 million per year from taxpayers), but David was alittle scrappy, too, and look how that turned out for Goliath.

The long march of progressivism through ourinstitutions started 100 years before the Tea Party movement was born, and weunderstand that it’s not going to turn around overnight. Are we to be held tosome standard that no other political movements are held?

Here’s the thing: We are willing to put in theyears that it will take to fix the foundation and fix the walls and the roof,so why not let us? Why not support us in that effort, instead of recklesslydeeming one of your greatest allies to be flatlined?

The patriotic Americans who make up the TeaParty movement love this country. We also love the Constitution, and we are law-abidingpeople. We choose to work within the system that our Founders left us to effectchange, even though it takes longer than a revolution.

We are very much the anti-Antifa. We don’ttake over the streets of cities, impose lawlessness and mob rule, or crack theheads of people who disagree with us. We do it the right way, which takeslonger. We accept this reality because these are the rules of life andpolitics.

And we have seen some big wins.

We’reHere to Stay

Reasonable people can debate whether the TeaParty should only have worked on fiscal responsibility for the last 10 years,even though it wasn’t the only principle to which we had committed ourselves.

We still have debates in our weekly calls,where activists discuss the direction they want us go for the upcoming weeks ormonths—and we make tough decisions together, as a movement.

However, I ask that others reconsider their terminologyand pronouncements of our demise. There are still millions of Americans whosqueeze out whatever time they can from their packed schedules of full-timework, full-time families, businesses they run, grandkids they babysit, andmore, in order to volunteer for the Tea Party movement.

It can be demoralizing to see alliesproclaiming your work is dead and meaningless, instead of acknowledging lossesand moving on, living to fight another day.

And whether you continue to falsely claim the TeaParty movement is dead or not, we are not going away. Like Winston Churchill,we will “never, never, never give up.”
It can be demoralizing to see allies proclaiming your work is dead and meaningless, instead of acknowledging losses and moving on, living to fight another day.
Over the coming weeks, months, and years, wewill continue to stand for personal freedom, economic freedom, and a debt-freefuture.

We will work to ensure our elections are fairand the results are respected. We will work to register people to vote, tovolunteer as poll workers, and to work as Election Day poll workers. Once wehave the results, we will respect them, just as we expect the same of ouropponents.

Should the left continue down the path towardimpeachment when there has been no recommended indictment against the president,we will stand for our nation’s president against impeachment.

We will work to stop the rise of the socialisttide in America, and we will urge our fellow Americans to choose freedom andfree markets. We will continue to stand for free speech, the right to beararms, property rights, and the other rights listed in the Constitution.

We will continue to work toward a debt-freefuture, including building an electoral mandate to rein in “mandatory” spendingand stop government overspending.

We will continue to fight to restore healthcare freedom and produce quality health care at competitive prices.
As long as there is liberty in America, there will be a Tea Party movement.
We will work to have more constitutionaloriginalists confirmed to the federal bench, which means electing presidentsand senators who will nominate and confirm originalists. We will also work topass legislation to reform the judiciary and restore the balance of powerbetween the three branches.

We will work to ensure members of Congresslive under the samerules they pass for everyone else, to amend theConstitution for term limits and a balanced budget, and to secure the border.

As long as there is liberty in America, there will be a Tea Party movement—the liberty movement, if you will—in America. Sam Adams started it in Boston in December 1773. Our Founding Fathers passed it on to the next generation. The torch of liberty continued passing from one generation to the next.

This generation’s Tea Party movement intends to pass the torch of liberty to our children and grandchildren so they, too, can be free to pursue their American Dream.

The post The Tea Party Isn’t Dead. It’s More Vibrant and Essential Than Ever. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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