I sat and read some long-winded piece this morning over a highly enthusiast Democrat who felt that the Party had suddenly logged onto and discovered the secret for 2018/2020.....by becoming a tea-party-like organization....with grass roots. It was a hyped up to some degree...like some professor discovering penicillin works, or that a chemist figured out the true ingredients to Pepsi.
I actually sat there in mid-Feburary of 2009 and watched the initial trigger to the tea party episode....with the finance-bond guru Rick Santelli making some passionate bond-talk and for about four minutes....he was delivering some kind of sermon that tugged on your heartstrings. After that....for at least an hour....I pondered over Rick's words. All Rick did was state the obvious....what most middle-income hard-working Americans felt. They were on the outside, and were getting whipped around by marginal politicians who weren't capable of handing the situation.
So came the tea party out of those four minutes of comments by one single bond guru.
I'm going to offer ten bits of advice to folks who think they can reinvent the tea party and angle it toward a vast agenda.
1. Nothing about the 2009 birth of the tea party had anything to do with violence, burning down buildings, assaulting people, hindering traffic, or halting free speech. If your gimmick re-birth is to take your new tea party to those tactics....you will not garner much public support beyond hard-core radicals (who already are with you anyway). The regular-working guy leaning Democrat....isn't that hyped up or thrilled over the antics I described above.
2. If you arrange for some mass protest event with your new tea party which involves hundreds or thousands of folks.....make sure they clean up their mess when it adjourns. Virtually every single tea party event held from 2009 to present.....usually results in a clean environment upon completion. Don't trash up some place and think that someone else will do the job for you.
3. If you start to look around and note that these tea party-like demonstrations being held....are simply meetings of the previous crews (feminists, BLM, environmentalists, anti-capitalists, mad revolutionary movement college students, LGBT, gay folks, etc) and there's NO middle-class regular democrats/independents in the group....then it's not really a new thing. It's the same old thing with a fake new front. Maybe the news guys can spin this, but regular people watching this will just be humored by the fake nature.
4. Most everything I've seen about the tea party gimmick from 2009 to present....involves free speech. If you can't vouch or run a free-speech situation at one of these events....don't count on the general public getting all thrilled.
5. Remember this odd factor of the tea party....it was never a political organization. Oh, they did try to maneuver into some stance of having tax-free status, but if you remember....those silly IRS folks stalled virtually every attempt to organize such groups. Would the IRS of 2017 treat you the same way?
6. Remember the insult gimmicks against the tea party? Tea-bagger? You might want to start up real quick with a new name which cannot be used in way to insult your great little organization. Make up some gimmick name with 'heartland'....that always charms folks.
7. Remember that a lot of the sales notion of the tea party crowd was 'big government', 'uncontrolled spending', and 'reckless DC behavior'. Beyond that....they really didn't have much of a pattern. They stayed within certain lines and kept people enticed with simple aims. Can you find such a simple pattern for the new Democratic tea-party? I would have my doubts. The minute you suggest more benefits or increased spending....won't your members ask....where will the money come from? More taxes on companies? Will that help or hinder jobs....think about that before you start a campaign.
8. These BIG events and protest episodes.....are they mostly in highly urbanized areas....where you already had votes and support anyway? Why wouldn't you go and run your events in rural areas....small towns....places where you had minimal notice over the past twenty years? Are you having some recognition trouble in those red counties? Maybe you should sit and examine how the 2009 tea party crowd got national attention and across a wide spectrum.
9. Oddly, if remember the key thing about the origin about the 2009 tea party....it was not about one candidate....nor is it that easy to find in 2010, 2012, 2014, or 2016 some united tea party effort. Oh, it is correct that in some states....they did find some ways to go together on a handful of candidates....but they never had some national trend episode.
10. When Rick started that four-minute chat or rant about the economy in 2009 and the losers in DC screwing up things...he tugged on the dynamics felt by the general public. Can you find such a moment....four minutes in brief context....that fixated people to act? Simplicity is the key component of the whole original tea party thing. Anything that takes an hour-long speech or 2,000 pages of text, or some group of foundations funding you....isn't the kind of anchor you want to start this upon.
Just some humble advice.