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The Tea Party is a
political movement in the United States that has sponsored locally and
nationally coordinated protests since 2009. Its platform is explicitly
populist and is generally recognized as conservative and
libertarian. It endorses reduced government spending, lower
taxes, reduction of the national debt and federal budget deficit, and
adherence to an originalist interpretation of the United States
The name "Tea Party" is a reference to the Boston Tea Party, a protest by colonists who objected to a British tax on tea in 1773 and demonstrated by dumping British tea taken from docked ships into the harbor. Their rallying cry of "no taxation without representation" has become a slogan of the Tea Party movement.
As of 2010, the Tea Party Movement is not a national political party, does not officially run Congressional candidates, and its name has not appeared on any ballots, but it has so far endorsed Republican candidates. The Tea Party movement has no central leadership but is composed of a loose affiliation of national and local groups that determine their own platforms and agendas. For this reason, the Tea Party movement is often cited as an example of grassroots political activity, although it has also been cited as an example of astroturfing.
According to pollster Scott Rasmussen, the bailouts of banks by the Bush and Obama administrations triggered the Tea Party’s rise. The interviewer adds that the movement's anger centers on two issues, quoting Rasmussen as saying, "They think federal spending, deficits and taxes are too high, and they think no one in Washington is listening to them, and that latter point is really, really important."
The Tea Party's most noted national figures include Republican politicians such as Dick Armey and Sarah Palin. Nearly all Tea Party candidates have run as Republicans. A Gallup poll shows almost 80% of Tea Partiers consider themselves to be Republicans. Some, including Gallup Editor in Chief Frank Newport, have suggested that the movement is not a new political group but simply a rebranding of traditional Republican candidates and policies.