The tea party’s second act: Was 2010 a steppingstone or a high-water mark?

May 5, 2012

By Rachel Rose Hartman | Yahoo News

The 2010 midterm elections were marked by ubiquitous images of voters waving Gadsen flags in the sun, women with tea bags hanging from their hat brims, and determined men in Paul Revere costumes shouting proclamations.

What happened to those people?

If you ask the people who helped organize the tea party into a movement, they’ll readily concede that tea party rallies this election cycle are not as prolific as they were in 2010. But they say they’re doing one better this year: Instead of simply rallying, they’re organized and on the ground (and on the phone, in your mailbox and on your radio and television) in select states to try to elect tea party candidates to office and effect what they say is “real change.”

“The movement has matured … and we’re now tea party 2.0,” Amy Kremer, chairwoman of Tea Party Express, told Yahoo News. Kremer and other tea party leaders say that while the tea party rose to fame in 2010, that cycle was just a learning period for the movement.

“In 2010, we didn’t have our feet under us,” Brendan Steinhauser, the federal and state campaigns director of FreedomWorks, told Yahoo News. Instead of a “haphazard” plan, as he described it, 2012 will bring a “much more sophisticated approach.”

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