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Friday, July 08, 2016

Is Donald Trump the Tea Party’s Revenge?

Did the pundits and politicians who are still surprised by the Donald Trump phenomenon forget about the Tea Party? Have the media and liberal politicians so slimed the Tea Party movement that no one dares make the connection between then and now?

President Obama and the Democratic Congress got the Tea Party movement rolling during tax season 2009 with their $787 billion economic stimulus plan. That plan, along with the auto and Wall Street bailouts, triggered protests from middle-class taxpayers demanding smaller government and lower taxes. Within a year, 48% of voters said the average Tea Party member was closer to their views than Obama was. Slightly fewer (44%) identified more with the president. Tea Party members made their presence known forcefully at congressional town hall meetings, and in November 2010 Republicans took back the House of Representatives from the Democrats.

Yet despite the mainstream economic views of most Tea Party members, Democratic leaders successfully labeled them as extremists and economic terrorists, and it went down hill from there. GOP nominee Mitt Romney held the group at arm’s length in his lackluster run for the presidency in 2012.

Still our surveys continued to show voters wanting smaller government and lower taxes and getting angrier and angrier at their representatives in Washington, DC. Trust in the federal government fell to historic lows. In November 2014, Republicans took control of the Senate, too.

But if Congress’ recent track record is any indicator, the GOP apparently hasn’t learned either. The end result is Trump who is arguably a third-party candidate running against the leaders of both major political parties. It was the Tea Party, though, that was the first sign of where we were headed.

For Rasmussen Reports, I’m Fran Coombs.