Where Do We Go From Here: The Future Of The Tea Parties

We can sit here and rehash the issues, but that's not what I want to discuss with you right now. A friend of mine wrote some advice to the Tea Parties on his blog a little while ago where he discussed what he thought the Tea Parties should focus on. He was concerned that the Tea Parties we're losing their direction and should focus on fiscal issues instead of incorporating social issues. When we had lunch together a short time later, the subject came up again and I had to respectfully disagree with him. However, after thinking about it for awhile and seeing the results in Massachusetts and here in Illinois, I have had a change of heart.

The Tea Parties we're forged in the spirit of the American Revolution. We rallied against a government that was acting more like the madness of King George III than Jefferson or Madison's vision of government. We rallied against the trampling of our Constitutional rights given to us under the Bill of Rights. We rallied against the government expanding it's powers past what is lined out in Article I, Sec. 8, 9, and 10. We rallied as a President refused to live with the confines of Article II when he started buying car companies and taking over banks. But nowhere at those original rallies did we rally for pro-life, defense of marriage, or other social issues.

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As this last primary season went full steam ahead, the social issues began to find their way to the forefront at Tea Party rallies. But is this what the Tea Parties have become? Have the Tea Parties morphed into a catch-all for conservatives, both fiscal and social? In a nutshell, I would say no. Let me explain by what I have observed over the last year.

Many of us have seen both political parties lean further and further left, especially the Democrats under the leadership of Pelosi, Reid, and Obama. I also believe there are a great many of us who are not only fiscal conservatives but also social conservatives. I also believe that many of us wore our beliefs on our sleeves when we began to choose who we would support in the primary and who we ultimately voted for. I also think there are generally more Republicans and Independents than Democrats that make up the Tea Party crowed. As a result, not everyone agrees on the social issues and I believe that if we focus on those exclusively or if we allow those issues to drive the Tea Parties instead the fiscal issues we will run into some serious problem later on. In essence, we would be allowing what many of us are trying to do to the political parties happen to us. Many of us have taken up positions within the grassroots levels of both political parties and mostly the Republicans. We are attempting to change both political parties but it just happens that one party is already closer ideologically to Tea Parties than the other. I myself serve as a precinct committeeman.

I know many at first glance of this article will disagree with it. However, the Tea Parties are separate from political parties. We seek to change the political parties, but if we move away from our original intent, then we risk two things: 3rd party and alienation of voters. First, if the Tea Parties become the catch-all for conservatives, then what is stopping the Tea Parties from becoming a 3rd party other than filing the paperwork, electing officers and establishing a platform? I've never voted 3rd party, I never will, and I will never be associated with a 3rd party. 3rd parties do allow for the discussion of different issues that the major party campaigns may ignore or may not want to discuss. On the other hand, 3rd parties in elections have allowed people to be elected that might not have been - Bill Clinton (Ross Perot), George W. Bush (Ralph Nader), Rod Blagojevich (Rich Whitney) , and Al Frankin (Dean Barkley). Secondly, the Tea Parties are running a risk of alienating independents and some Democrats by focusing on social issues. Many of the Independents shy away from social issues or fail to see social issues as a critical part of vetting a candidate. Likewise, many of the more conservative Democrats may not agree with some of the social issues that conservative Republicans believe in. The one thing that everyone can agree on is fiscal responsibility.

All of this brings me to ask what we should do now that the primary is over and the nominees have been chosen. Bill Brady is currently leading (and will most likely end up winning) as the GOP candidate for governor. Brady beat out a strong run by Adam Andzrejewski, which had support from many, if not most of the Tea Parties and 9-12 groups. I think the Tea Parties will be able to easily support Bill Brady in his run for Illinois Governor. The problem lies with Mark Kirk who won the GOP US Senate nomination. I think we all know that despite Kirk's stances, he's better than Alexi Giannoulias - Obama's protg. We as Tea Partiers rallied against Mark Kirk because of his vote on Cap and Trade and a few other questionable fiscal issues. Conservative Republicans we're against Kirk because of fiscal concerns and his liberal social issues stances. The question that we face now is whether the Tea Parties can or should support Mark Kirk instead of a 3rd party candidate or sitting at home on Election Day in November. You already know my feelings toward 3rd parties, so that leaves the other part of the question.

We know Mark Kirk voted for Cap and Trade. We know that he has some other questionable votes or stances on fiscal issues. He has since sworn not to support Cap and Trade as a Senator. We do have to take into account that he represented one of the more liberal Republican districts in Illinois. So, do we fault him for listening to his constituents like we all say our elected officials should do? I would say yes and no. No fault in listening to his constituents, but yes because some issues fiscal or otherwise have wider implications than just one district or one state. I also look at Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts. Many of the Tea Parties supported his campaign, despite his pro-choice stance (notice fiscal issues overrode the social issues with Tea Parties). So, what needs to happen before Tea Parties and conservative Republicans can support Mark Kirk?

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Posted in Law Post Date 03/28/2017


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