It’s finally the Tea Party’s moment to get to work
By Emily Jashinsky
Over the course of the last decade, the Tea Party successfully created an infrastructure in Washington, D.C. engineered specifically to combat Obamacare.
That infrastructure includes both elected muscle — a wave of Republicans such as Rep. Dave Brat and Sen. Ted Cruz (right,) elected to Congress with the help of the grassroots — and activist muscle in the form of nonprofits like FreedomWorks, which were boosted to greater prominence by the movement’s influence.
This structure functioned more like a wall during the Obama administration, effectively halting attempts to accelerate the growth of government.
In recent years, the Tea Party’s momentum has waned, prompting many to declare it dead. But now, as the Republican presidential administration and the Republican Congress finally have an opportunity to dismantle the very legislation that drew so many people to the movement more than half a decade ago, it’s finally the Tea Party’s moment to get to work.
No, massive rallies from coast-to-coast aren’t springing up to demand action from Washington as they did years ago. But the organizational infrastructure those rallies helped build is exerting its clout to apply pressure to Republican leaders.
After the House released its “Repeal & Replace” plan last week, conservative movement groups and elected officials such as the Tea Party Patriots and Senator Rand Paul voiced vehement opposition to the legislation.
The threat of heightened backlash from Tea Party players triggered the Trump Administration to respond by inviting them to share that opposition with the president and the vice president at the White House.
Whether these Tea Party-backed Republicans will be able to lobby successfully for healthcare legislation that meets their standards is yet to be determined. But those people the movement imported to Washington during the long winter of Obama’s presidency have not forgotten what brought them there.
Expect them to continue fighting back.