Grassroots Or Big Money?

Tea Party candidates are making inroads in big Congressional races.  But who’s driving them into office?  The grassroots?  Or billionaire donors?

Texas Republican Senate candidate Ted Cruz speaks to the media Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012, in Houston a day after trouncing Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in a runoff. (AP)

Texas Republican Senate candidate Ted Cruz speaks to the media Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012, in Houston a day after trouncing Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in a runoff. (AP)

America’s rough and ready Tea Party was indisputably triumphant in 2010, flooding Capitol Hill with a fiery conservative freshman class in the House.  Then the pumped-up rallies and town hall meetings died away.  Word on the street was that the Tea Party’s day in the sun had passed.  Well, maybe not.

It’s quieter now, but it’s happy to tell you it’s chalking up victories.  A US Senate majority is the big target.  Thumping conservatives with Tea Party backers are winning primaries.  And big bucks.  So is it the people?  The money?  The message?

This hour, On Point:  Tea Party politics, 2012.

-Tom Ashbrook


Karen Tumulty, national political correspondent for The Washington Post.

John Geer, chair of the political science department at Vanderbilt University.

Sal Russo, chief strategist for the Tea Party Express.

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post “A month ago, many people in this state presumed that Tommy G. Thompson — still a household name here after serving an unprecedented four terms as governor — had a lock on the Republican nomination for the Senate.”

ABC News “Today, Republicans in the Show Me State will pick a challenger for Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, and the dominant wings of the conservative movement can find niche appeal in the three GOP contestants: a tea partier endorsed by Sarah Palin, a businessman backed by the Chamber of Commerce, and a social conservative who’s pursued the state’s Christian voters.”

CBS News “Sarah Palin is mounting an aggressive campaign in Missouri — in television and radio ads, in automated telephone calls, even serving barbecued pork sandwiches at a rural political picnic. She’s urging residents to vote for Sarah — Sarah Steelman, one of three Republicans in a prickly U.S. Senate primary.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Nov 26, 2015
This photo taken July 31, 2012 shows a "tiny" house April Anson built in Portland, Ore. For the past couple of months, 33-year-old Anson and her friends have been planning, measuring, sawing and hammering their way toward completion of what might look like a child’s playhouse. (AP)

Tiny houses, micro-apartments. They’re hot. Americans are downsizing.

Nov 26, 2015
Jewel performs in the On Point Studio on Tuesday, September 22, 2015. (Liz Gillis / WBUR)

Singer-songwriter Jewel asked “who will save your soul”? Now she’s talking about saving her own. We’ll talk to Jewel.

Nov 25, 2015
Three of baker Renee McLeoud's delicious pies, on display in the WBUR studios. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Bring your appetite! We’re gathering around the radio table with three chefs and new Thanksgiving recipes.

Nov 25, 2015
President Barack Obama, accompanied by Pulitzer Prize winning Iowa writer Marilynne Robinson, arrives to the State Library of Iowa in the Ola Babcock Miller Building, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015, in Des Moines. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

On the day before Thanksgiving, we talk with Marilynne Robinson – one of America’s greatest authors, thinkers, moralists — about fear and hope in a hard, frightening time.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Fresh Ideas For Your Thanksgiving: Recipes
Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015

Did our Thanksgiving 2016 episode make you hungry? Good news — we’ve got recipes right here.

More »
1 Comment
Karl Rove Still Won’t Get Involved In The 2016 G.O.P. Primary
Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015

Karl Rove may say he’s not endorsing or getting involved in the 2016 G.O.P. presidential primary, but that won’t stop from offering advice on how to beat Republican front runner Donald Trump.

More »
Roger Cohen And Barry Posen On ISIS
Monday, Nov 23, 2015

A brief, but illustrative exchange between Barry Posen and Roger Cohen during our conversation on ISIS today.

More »