The Demise of the Tea Party is Greatly Exaggerated
Posted by Ned Ryun (Diary)
Tuesday, February 14th at 11:45AM EST
Certain people keep opining that the Tea Party is all but dead, but those who wish for the demise of the Tea Party are missing the emerging new political infrastructure where Tea Party groups have set aside rallies for political action. Consider Wisconsin to determine where the Tea Party is going in 2012 and beyond.
From New York to California, newspapers are weighing in on the importance of Governor Scott Walker’s recall in Wisconsin. Stephen Moore in the Wall Street Journal described it as “the most important non-presidential election of the decade.” The Orange County Register even penned an editorial about how important it was that the public unions are stopped in Wisconsin.
A look at the Tea Party in Wisconsin shows serious political players in this incredibly important recall game. During 2011, the Tea Party stepped up time and again during the protests over the Budget Repair Bill, the re-election of Justice Prosser, the Prosser Recount, the recalls of State Senators who fled to Illinois, and in the August Recall elections.
Fast forward to the Walker recall and it is the Tea Party leading the way to ensure the integrity of Wisconsin’s electoral process. Three weeks after the Walker recall began, two Wisconsin Tea Party groups announced an unprecedented project called Verify the Recall(VTR). The joint effort of the Wisconsin Grandsons of Liberty (led by Tim Dake) and We the People of the Republic (led by Ross Brown) soon drew thousands of volunteers across Wisconsin and the rest of the 49 states. Their announcement came at a time when conservatives in Wisconsin were growing increasingly worried about Big Labor’s “at all costs” mentality of gathering recall signatures.
When they announced, VTR was the only known verification effort. But it wasn’t just that the Tea Party was first to announce a verification project, it is also a very sophisticated venture aided by True the Vote, a Houston-based Tea Party group that has led similar projects. VTR’s database will be cross-referencing double digit reference points to ensure that the name and addresses signed are accurate and living.
The establishment was not only late to the game in their verification efforts; they merely used volunteers for an in-person examination of recall petitions at their offices. To create a database, they opted to use a third party group to enter the information.
VTR choose to use their 12,000+ volunteers who have a vested interest in finding recall fraud as they have heard numerous reports of errors, duplicates, and even outright recall fraud. VTR also has had more than 64,000 people sign up to see if someone else has signed their name to a recall petition.
The Tea Party in Wisconsin is showing their grassroots muscle in a big way. The Tea Partyrallies are dead, as well they should be. But the real Tea Party that will enact political change is actually rising, growing stronger and more sophisticated in 2012.