In November 2010, the Tea Party flooded voting booths across the nation and delivered a historic victory for the Republican Party. While many Tea Partiers (including me) are independents—and some even are Democrats—we largely supported the GOP as our only immediate chance to restore some semblance of sanity to this nation’s fiscal policies.
So far they’ve delivered on virtually nothing, including in the House where they are the significant majority.* But with the debt ceiling issue they now have a unique opportunity to finally force significant and unavoidable spending cuts. Democrats–including and especially President Obama–are desperate to get the ceiling raised so they can continue to spend our nation toward an economic catastrophe, but this can’t happen without the approval of the House.
We empowered Republicans for this moment. But they’re sending signals that they may fold (again) and raise the debt ceiling, despite the public’s overwhelming opposition, without including any real spending cuts in the deal. If they take that course and miss this historic opportunity to start to pull us back from the black hole before it’s too late (the Cut, Cap, and Balance approach is a good start), I believe we’ll finally see an organized third party movement begin in America.
I’m not arguing for or against that here, I’m simply stating what I believe will happen. I’ve heard enough Tea Partiers in my home state of Virginia already pushing for a third party—and seen similar interest across the country—that I believe it to be a real possibility. If that happens, the Republican Party will be decimated, and they will have only themselves to blame.
With that in mind, I’d like to see a Voices of the Tea Party e-book describe the mechanics involved in (a) creating a third party and (b) using the existing party structures to take over one or both (as the Big-Government advocates started to do a century ago). The former is a long, complex process, while the latter is actually much easier than many people realize and is the reason the Tea Party has taken that approach so far. But because our members are so distraught with the total lack of principled leadership in the existing parties and many are ready to start a new one, it would be helpful if they understood exactly what’s involved so they can determine if that’s truly the best approach or if it would be better to stay the course and advance our cause through the existing parties.
* Obviously a huge part of the problem is that whatever fiscally conservative legislation they may pass will either fail in the Senate or be vetoed anyway. But that shouldn’t stop them from passing it and forcing politicians to go on record as voting for either fiscal responsibility or fiscal ruin.
Jon Wakefield is a leader of the Richmond, Virginia Tea Party.