The movement has also found victory at the ballot box, where it has challenged unprincipled Republicans in primaries and sent dozens of strong conservative to Washington in general elections. In doing so, the movement has challenged the top-down method of campaigning. The Tea Party was growing the pie, adding new potential voters to its ranks, looking in districts that hadn’t been in play before, and effectively organizing voters. It focused on social, technological, and personal networks. As it turns out, the grassroots protests were not only a good recruitment mechanism for building boots on the ground, they also created a powerful market signal to potential candidates with both the principles and the practical skills needed to win public office.
The momentum built in 2010 is continuing in 2012. Most recently, the Tea Party helped Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker win the union-backed recall. In Indiana’s Republican Senate primary, it helped conservative Richard Mourdock defeat moderate incumbent Dick Lugar. In Utah, it forced Sen. Orrin Hatch to reevaluate his commitment to conservative principles. It seems that everywhere the Tea Party is, the movement is enacting change.
In business, shareholders stage a hostile takeover of the company when the board has failed to fulfill its duties. The same is occurring in politics. The board—the Washington establishment—is no longer serving the shareholders—the American people—and refuses to change it ways. So We the People are taking Washington back. But just like shareholders taking a company back, the people must have a plan for what to do when they’ve regained power. The Tea Party has that too, in the form a wide-reaching agenda focused on decentralization and returning power back to the people at all levels of decision-making.
Americans need to break up the privileged collusion of Washington insiders and take power away from self-appointed “experts” and give it back to the people. From business and fiscal policy to the tax code to health care and education, the decentralized model that has made the Tea Party a success will return America to the standing it deserves a the greatest nation on earth.