Tea Party Storms Ahead in Congress

Jordan Nevares

Tea Party gains support from voters across the nation on pressing economic issues

Tea Party backed candidates are claiming new real estate in Washington this January after Republicans took six Senate seats and 63 House seats from Democrats.

The Tea Party’s momentum brought sweeping victories across the country to candidates such as Marco Rubio in Florida, Rand Paul in Kentucky, and Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania.

The impact of the Tea Party can also be witnessed locally in California’s 11th district, where Jerry McNerney narrowly beat Republican David Harmer by a narrow margin of 2,658 votes.  

The Tea Party’s message was so strong that many moderate Republican candidates were defeated in the party primaries.  This in turn caused the more conservative candidates to lose in the general elections for moderate states.  Tea Party backed Senate candidates Sharron Angle of Nevada and Christine O’Donnell of Delaware lost handily in races that moderate Republican candidates had an equal chance of winning.

Tea Partiers interpret Obama’s proposals as government intrusion into the private economic realm of everyday citizens.  Supporters want to keep privatized health care, lower taxes, and they are demanding that Congress tackle the growing deficit.  
“We are headed towards European socialism and a diminished role of the US in the world, towards a level of debt that will strangle prosperity for generations, towards a near hegemonic intrusion into the private sphere,” said Sally Zelikovsky, an organizer of the Bay Area Patriots, a group that stages Tea Party rallies in the Bay Area.

Ever since Democrats took a super-majority in the 2008 midterms, Republicans have been opposed to virtually every proposal made from across the aisle.  Much of this can be attributed to the rise of the Tea Party, which has funded the campaigns of congressmen who have been unwilling to work with the Democratic Party.  President Obama agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts to every American for an additional two years, caving to Republicans who are not willing to compromise on fundamental economic issues.  They argue that no one’s taxes should increase during a recession. Last Monday President Obama took criticism after agreeing to extend all of the Bush tax cuts.

Overall, “Tea Partiers want a robust free market, where competition is alive and kicking,” said Zelikovsky.  With lower taxes and less regulation, this will spur the job growth that will drive prosperity.”

Congress has passed more legislation during Obama’s first two years than any other president since FDR, but Washington remains polarized.  One lingering question for Americans is whether the next Congress will compromise or remain divided on heated issues like the economy, immigration, and climate change.