The Slatest

Tea Party Support at All-Time Low as Tea Party Power Continues to Cripple Congress

An Iran-related Tea Party rally outside the Capitol on Sept. 9, 2015.

Photo by Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

Here are two news stories converging in an interesting way:

1. A Gallup press release says that the portion of Americans who self-identify as supporters of the “Tea Party movement” is at an all-time low of 17 percent:

Americans’ support for the Tea Party has dropped to its lowest level since the movement emerged on the national political scene prior to the 2010 midterm elections. … The Tea Party emerged in 2009 in opposition to the fledgling Obama administration, and many Americans took sides for or against the movement in the midterm elections the next year. Support peaked at 32% in November 2010, just after those elections, in which Tea Party supporters were widely credited with helping the Republican Party gain control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

2. Hard-right Tea Party–affiliated conservative voters and pundits, having badgered House speaker John Boehner into quitting, are now campaigning hard to keep Paul Ryan—an Ayn Rand admirer known primarily for advocating huge tax cuts and huge cuts to government services—from becoming speaker because he is too liberal. This Gawker post asserts, reasonably, that while Ryan is still likely to win the speakership, he’ll nonetheless be “a Boehner-like enemy of the right the very moment he takes the job.” And first task in that job, as Slate’s Jim Newell wrote last week, will be figuring out how to raise the debt ceiling, which John Boehner currently says can’t be done because of hard-right Tea Party opposition in the Republican caucus.

Democracy is interesting!