Tea Party Movement
Since its inception in February 2009, the Tea Party movement—with the help of viral videos and social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter—almost instantly found a large and loyal following that has gained traction and supporters. The Tea Party name, a clear reference to the American colonists’ dumping of tea into Boston Harbor to protest taxes imposed by King George, stands as an acronym as well: Taxed Enough Already. Tea Party organizers claim that the first nationwide Tea Party protest took place on February 27, 2009, with coordinated events occurring in more than 40 cities. These protests were merely dress rehearsal for the Tea Party events planned for April 15, 2009: tax day. Some protests, such as the one in Atlanta, Georgia, attracted crowds of several thousand; others drew just a handful. Tea Partiers detest all things big: big government, big business, big national debt, big taxes. Most Tea Partiers consider themselves citizen activists who are part of a grassroots movement that is organized from the bottom up—small groups united under a shared ideology. The movement claims no national leader or figurehead.
A Gallup poll shows almost 80% of Tea Partiers consider themselves to be Republicans. Most Tea Partiers have become disgusted with the takeover of the Republican Party in recent years by liberal minded “neoconservatives”. The ranks of Tea Party members grew in Congress throughout 2010. In July Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) got the go-ahead from the House leadership to form a Tea Party Caucus. Twenty-eight Republicans joined the group. In November’s midterm elections, voters elected Kentucky’s Rand Paul and Florida’s Marco Rubio to the Senate.
The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in the United States. Libertarians believe the answer to America’s political problems is the same commitment to freedom that earned America its greatness: a free-market economy and the abundance and prosperity it brings; a dedication to civil liberties and personal freedom; and a foreign policy of non-intervention, peace, and free trade as prescribed by America’s founders.
The Libertarian Party was formed in Colorado Springs in the home of David Nolan on December 11, 1971. The formation was prompted in part by the Vietnam War,conscription, and the end of the Gold Standard. The first Libertarian National Convention was held in June, 1972. In 1978, Dick Randolph of Alaska became the first elected Libertarian state legislator. In 1994, over 40 Libertarians were elected or appointed which was a record for the party at that time. The year 1995 saw a soaring membership and voter registration for the party. In 1996, the Libertarian Party became the first third party to earn ballot status in all 50 states two presidential elections in a row. By the end of 2009, 146 Libertarians are holding elected offices.
Unlike liberals or conservatives, Libertarians advocate a high degree of both personal and economic liberty. For example, Libertarians advocate freedom in economic matters, so they are in favor of lowering taxes, slashing bureaucratic regulation of business, and charitable — rather than government — welfare. But Libertarians are also socially tolerant. They won’t demand laws or restrictions on other people who they may not agree because of personal actions or lifestyles.