Image 01 Image 03

Could 2014 be the “Year of the Tea Party Democrat”?

Could 2014 be the “Year of the Tea Party Democrat”?

Democratic Party heads would explode if the rank and file went Tea Party in protest

At the start of the New Year, Legal Insurrection reader Nicholas wrote to ask Professor Jacobson the following question: Could 2014 be the year of the Tea Party Democrats? The political climate certainly seems appropriate.

As Legal Insurrection’s designated “Tea Party Democrat,” I would like to answer this: Yes and No.

Yes: Democrats are becoming as frustrated with their establishment leaders and failed policies as “Tea Party Republicans” have been with theirs. Exhibit 1: A townhall meeting in Chicago a hosted by Al Sharpton transformed into a “tea party” against “Chicago Machine” politics, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and the aldermen in City Hall.

“This was a historic event,” Paul McKinley of V.O.T.E. (Voices of the Ex-Offender) and former 2nd Congressional District GOP nominee to replace Jesse Jackson, Jr. told Breitbart News…..

McKinley told the room, “Stop blaming just anybody for the violence in the city of Chicago. Blame the right people, not just white people, but the right people. Because it’s not just white folks a part of this, but it is on the fifth floor. The fifth floor took your schools, the fifth floor just took your jobs that he said that he gave to the ex-offender… and every single alderman was a part of this criminal process.”

The video will delight fans of schadenfreude:

To paraphrase Frank Sinatra: If a revolt can make it here, it can make it anywhere.

Exhibit 2: Another core constituency is showing signs of open rebellion. Last month, it was reported that Obama’s approval numbers had tanked in 2013 among Hispanics — the biggest plunge for any core group.

Now, comes word that Eric Holder’s Justice Department is disputing as unfounded the religious challenge that led a Supreme Court justice to partially block the provision from taking effect this week. Hispanic justice, Sonia Sotomayor, was the one who signed the eleventh-hour order in response to a plea from the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged, a Colorado-based order of nuns, that is now being challenged.

I suspect this will not enhance the popularity of the Obama administration.

And as many Americans trusted Obama’s healthcare promises, the fact that frustrated patients (some of them Hispanic) are walking out of hospitals without treatment:

‘They had no idea if my insurance was active or not!’ a coughing Maria Galvez told MailOnline outside the Inova Healthplex facility in the town of Springfield.

She was leaving the building without getting a needed chest x-ray.

‘The people in there told me that since I didn’t have an insurance card, I would be billed for the whole cost of the x-ray,’ Galvez said, her young daughter in tow. ‘It’s not fair – you know, I signed up last week like I was supposed to.’

Legal Insurrection readers now may be asking, “Then, Leslie, why do you also say NO?

Because “Tea Party” has been so derided and mocked in the mainstream media and comedy shows…which is still the main source of news for the less politically engaged. Cue Jon Stewart:

It is also not terribly helpful when conservative luminaries like Charles Krauthammer refer to Tea Partiers as the “Suicide Caucus” and Republicans name “top generals in the War Against Tea Party“.  Also, GOP guru Karl Rove further derided grassroots activists recently by saying this of his new group: “Our object is to avoid having stupid candidates who can’t win general elections.”

While all of this is unfair, sensible activists deal with “conditions on the ground”.

As a Democrat, I offer this hopeful forecast related to my party for 2014: Democrats around the country will begin pushing back on government in their own way under a different label.  It was done in 1992 by Bill Clinton and his team’s concept of “centrist Democrats“.

More recently, a Blue Dog Coalition of “fiscally conservative Democrats” has this to say:

I am a Blue Dog Democrat because I believe that a fiscally conservative government and being committed to the security and safety of the United States are two principles our founding fathers supported and should continue to be the core principles upon which our leaders govern.

So, 2014 will probably not be the “Year of the Tea Party Democrat”, but of the “Blue Dog” (or some other trendy moniker).

Same concept. Different label. And probably not entirely the same set of goals.

(Featured image credit:


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


Call ’em Blue Dogs, and get on with it. …..except, remember what happened to the last bunch of Blue Dogs, the ones that Nancy Pelosi told to sit down and shut up?

I submit that Blue Dogs and Tea Party Democrats will be in a better position in 2016 if the voters in 2014 pull the lever just once for the Republicans.

“Our object is to avoid having stupid candidates who can’t win general elections.”
He must mean candidates like McCain and Romney. They were the candidates that couldn’t win in the general elections.
Most of the “Tea Party” candidates get opposition from the GOP instead of support. Hard to win the general election when the business as usual party leaders actively oppose you.

Doug Wright Old Grouchy | January 4, 2014 at 5:19 pm

Well now, all you Blue Dog Dems should consider one little issue: If the Pelosi/Reid/Obama wing of the Socialists of America Partei, aka the Democrats, keep the Senate and win the House, Obama will rule forever or else his anointed ones shall.

That will mean that the ACA bill will become the WOWHGs bill and maybe then alternative means of expressions might have to be considered; God only knows what that means.

Can anyone say: “Executive Orders forever?”

I’m Bob Dole and I never got to be POTUS.
I’m Maverick McCain and I never got to be POTUS.
I’m Mitt Romney and I never got to be POTUS.
I’m Karl ROve and I have exactly ONE win under my belt yet people still suck up to me.

Trendy name: Reformed Democrats

Subotai Bahadur | January 4, 2014 at 6:33 pm

Genuine “Blue Dog Democrats” have been extinct for almost two decades. They were killed by the Democrat Party. There are those who claim to be “Blue Dog Democrats” if they are running in districts or states where going full-Marxist/Racist Democrat is not feasible. However, every single time a vote comes up, they vote identically to the Marxist/Racists and lie to their constituents.

With that knowledge, believing that any Democrat is part of “a Blue Dog Coalition of ‘fiscally conservative Democrats'” is an act of pure folly. We have been lied to too many times before, and they will not have any credibility until they stand up against the Institutional Democrats as much as the TEA Party has stood up against the Institutional Republicans. Until then, it is all Maskirova and Dezhinformatzia.

Mind you, the Institutional Republicans will fall over themselves to make concessions to the Democrats in any form, because they so want to believe that there are Democrats who might really like them.

I don’t give two hoots what Krauthammer and Rove say about us – the Tea Party. We are the reason they have a job at all.

Democrats must be the most ignorant and the stupidest voters out there, if I read Leslie and society right.

Case in point, many Democrats don’t like the GOP. These days, it’s not just philosophical differences but it’s indoctrinated hatred; so, even if the don’t know the candidate, the R after his name is enough for them to sneer. Now, can Democrats be so ignorant as not to know the much LSM-maligned name of Karl Rove? If they are not, then their natural reaction to a thing Rove of which speaks ill would be to gravitate to it. So, Rove disdains the TP, then the TP must be good. If the GOP honchos bad mouth the TP, then the TP must be good, based on the logic that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

As for Krauthammer, do they even know who he is? If they do, he appears on Fox, which many reject. Again, it follies that if a Fox analyst derides the TP, then the TP must be good.

It is illogical, and this is where I disagree with Leslie’s no, that Democrat voters would march in lockstep with GOP mavens and pundits and reject the TP. The corollary should be a Democrat embrace of the TP in 2014.

If Democrat voters reject the TP knowing who the speakers mocking it are, it betrays an alarming want of sense for they are allowing people they hate to guide their choices. if they reject not knowing who the TP’s critics are, it shows not only stupidity on their part but also ignorance and laziness. Such people really should not be allowed to vote for it is contrary to the Jeffersonian principle of voting.


    I am really not seeing the point you are attempting to make. The reality is that, after talking with a few Democrats in my acquaintance, I don’t see many embracing “Tea Party” as it is currently known.

    If the Democrats vote to oust their elite leaders, then I don’t care if they call themselves the “Mary Poppins” Party…whatever it takes them comfortable enough to make some better choices in terms of fiscal conservatism and less regulatory restrictions. I think Chicago heralds the grassroots efforts at the city level that is a hallmark of successful citizen-driven politics.

    And while it would be nice to have voters “fully informed”…the reality that isn’t going to happen. Many still won’t bother — or see the same set of data we do and come to different conclusions.

    Praying to see some positive results in 2014…no matter what form they take. Thanks and Happy New Year.

      Juba Doobai! in reply to Leslie Eastman. | January 5, 2014 at 2:03 am

      My point is reasonably well laid out and hard to miss. Please revisit it.

      I’ll summarize for you: the corollary of your argument is a Democrat embrace of the TP in 2014. If that doesn’t happen it’s because the majority of Democrat voters are ignorant lackwits who illogically take their lead from GOP folks they hate.

      Burn_the_Witch in reply to Leslie Eastman. | January 5, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      Like the vast majority of Democrats, you’re confused. The comment to which you responded was quite clear. In this response you hope for fiscal conservatism, yet you undoubtedly support the vast socially liberal (leftist really) programs that are anathema to fiscal responsibility.

      The idea that Blue Dog Democrats exist in any functional form is as laughable as calling the GOP the party of fiscal restraint. There is simply no empirical evidence to support these claims. I’m glad you outed yourself as a Democrat so that I know not to take you seriously on any meaningful political policy level in the future.

      Out of morbid curiosity, did you vote for Obama again in 2012?

These voters do not have to self identify as Tea Party or even Republican. Many call themselves Independents or even ex-Democrats. But they do need to vote that way. This is shaping up to be what used to be called a whip-saw election. This is when voters cast ballots to get rid of whoever is in office that they despise. Lackluster or villified Republican candidates were fairly easily dealt with in the past by Democrats. This year all Republicans need to say is “Send me to DC to be a part of the veto proof majority to repeal Obamacare then we will work the rest out.”

Phillep Harding | January 4, 2014 at 8:58 pm

I think the Occupy movement was intended to divert possible desertion of disaffected Democrats to the TEA Party. Such people probably now consider the TEA Party to be the same as the Occupy movement and just shrug it off as being slightly better run or better organized astro-turf.

PersonFromPorlock | January 4, 2014 at 9:03 pm

Well, Tea Party Republicans are basically those who are tired of Republican officeholders who represent the Republican party rather than them. I suppose there could be a Democratic equivalent. Do you suppose the MSM would call them ‘Democratic extremists’?

Midwest Rhino | January 4, 2014 at 9:38 pm

The sleeping giant tea party are those two thirds in polls, saying they want less government, lower taxes. Recognizing that fact, DC and their army of media and Hollywood attack dogs, continue to assail the good tea partiers with every hateful meme and joke they can contrive.

So the many Democrats that also think DC is out of control, will need another name, especially since they have long been mentally conditioned to eschew those “evil conservatives”. Maybe they can then work with republican tea partiers as a gang of 40 … or something.

Henry Hawkins | January 4, 2014 at 10:25 pm

I have a friend, a 40-ish family man, married, three kids, a former rock musician turned small business owner (I make guitars for him, a hobby). For the 10+ years I’ve known him he’s always expressed politics consistent with conservative values. I asked why he hadn’t joined the Tea Party. He was aghast, declared he’s all for a return to basic ol’ American values, but he’s not some tricorn wearing nutjob.

I asked him whether he supported… then went through the basic TP platform plank by plank: small government, lower taxes, strict interp of the constitution, etc., etc. He agreed with every one of them, but still hesitated at my suggestion he join a TP group.

For a couple seconds it burned me that the TP image had been so sullied by the lies of the media and political opposition, but that immediately cooled. I remembered my own oft-repeated observation that the “Tea Party” is not the aggregate of TP orgs across the nation, many of which have already been co-opted and turned by infiltrating politicos. The “Tea Party” is a set of ideas, familiar to us all, that has risen spontaneously over the past decade or two, brought to a fever point by the horrifics of the early Obama administration, particularly the passage of Obamacare (and as much for the manner in which it was passed as for its actual content). I realized it doesn’t matter what so-called low info voters believe about the Tea Party, my friend included, because the ideas upon which it is based remain unsullied, popular, and growing.

The best thing about the “Tea Party” is that there is no answer to the question, “who leads the Tea Party?” It is the definition and epitome of a grassroots movement.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Henry Hawkins. | January 5, 2014 at 2:07 am

    And this proves my point about Democrat voters.

    Phillep Harding in reply to Henry Hawkins. | January 5, 2014 at 4:06 am

    Yeah, “What’s in a name?”

    People hear (and read) what is said by reporters and entertainers without really thinking about it, then respond without awareness that their reactions are not in accordance with their own beliefs and inclinations. It gets really wierd.

    canoworms27 in reply to Henry Hawkins. | January 5, 2014 at 6:50 am

    Tea Party=being principle to the constitution, not the adherence to a political party.

Not A Member of Any Organized Political | January 4, 2014 at 11:33 pm

So I guess the Boston Tea Party II partier candidates will have to label themselves true “Independents.”

The thing to remember about all democrats, and more than a few Repubs, is that they are all “blue dog democrats”, (or in the case of the Repubs: “Tea Party”,) until the day after the election.

I’m sorry, but when has ANY current Democrat voted on ANYTHING that would make you believe the statement that Blue Dogs believe in a “fiscally conservative government…committed to the security and safety of the United States”? Every Democrat voted for Obamacare. Every Democrat has supported Reid’s illegal and immoral practice of not putting forth a budget for four years now. The idea that a few Democrats can hide behind some easily disproved statement like that one only goes to show how mentally challenged the average Democrat voter really is.

    Burn_the_Witch in reply to Diggs. | January 5, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    “Every Democrat voted for Obamacare”

    That’s simply not true. The only thing that was bipartisan about Obamacare was opposition to it. Now of course a lot of the Democrats that voted against it were granted permission from the leadership to do so because they knew they still had the votes in the House and it allowed them cover back home with their constituents, but to say every Democrat voted for Obamacare is patently false.

      JayInAmes in reply to Burn_the_Witch. | January 5, 2014 at 4:00 pm

      That may be true, but what does that say about their convictions and adherence to principles? The Party is greater than the Constitution, is what it says to me.

      McCain, Graham, the Maine Twins, etc. by that logic are strict adherents to the well being of America. They go against their party as often as possible, to make sure that “bipartisan” or some silly stuff like that.

      I’ll stick with the definition of “Every Democrat voted for Obamacare”. Even the ones that didn’t.

“Hispanic justice, Sonia Sotomayor, was the one who signed the eleventh-hour order in response to a plea from the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged, a Colorado-based order of nuns”.

It’s irrelevant that she signed it. She’s assigned to cover requests from the 4th District as the voice of the Court, not the decider.

4 Justices must have agreed. Sotomayor need NOT have been one of them.

Fiscal ‘conservatives’ and social liberals are libertarians, not Democrats.

    Burn_the_Witch in reply to Marla Hughes. | January 5, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Fiscal conservatism and social liberalism (in its modern incarnation) do not mix. Most forms of libertarianism reject much of the ideology of social liberalism. To reduce libertarianism to fiscal conservative/social liberal is to do it a disservice. And I’m not even a big fan of big L libertarianism.

[…] friend, Leslie Eastman at Legal Insurrection has up this terrific post today on “Could 2014 be the “Year of the Tea Party Democrat”? It’s a must […]

The problem with the Tea Party is that being mostly comprised of Republicans and former Republicans, we tend to think and talk like Republicans. For the Tea Party to define itself as a subset of the 23% of Registered voters registered as Republicans is suicidal when Rasmussen consistently reports that 92% of Americans think government is doing a lousy job.

And polls are increasingly showing that Americans no longer see any difference between the “two” parties as is reflected in party registration showing that “both” parties keep losing members with most of them going independent rather than switching parties.

When I was a lad in the middle of the last century, 98% or so of voters were registered to one of the two parties. Today that number, as best as I can tell, is somewhere between 52% to 56%. That means that the largest party in America is “none of the above” and it represents the only party that is growing.

The way to tap into that anti-establishment mood is for former Democrats and former Republicans to start speaking the same language. If we were to do that, we would find that the Venn diagrams are so strongly in favor of the Tea Party principles that we could start a new second party…. if we could start speaking the same language.

We need to drop the Democratic/Republican narratives and language and start speaking American again with a new American narrative. Americans overwhelmingly support the Constitution. We are just stuck in two opposing narratives and can’t come together to say so in big numbers.

BTW Leslie, the term “Hispanic” is an artificial designation created by the Nixon administration. I have yet to find a precise definition of the term. More than half of my friends are supposedly included in that description but all consider it an insult or at least annoying to be referred to as a Hispanic. They are Cuban or Mexican or Guatemalan or Puerto Rican and so on.

There is no such place as “Hispania” and so being lumped together into this group for political expediency is asking them to subordinate their heritage and true ethnic identity to some artificial term that has no true meaning. If you were a Spaniard descended from a Castilian family, would you refer to yourself as Spanish or Hispanic? Just try to call the many Spanish Basques in these parts a Hispanic and you better run.

It’s just one of the many ways that political types, particularly the hopelessly elitist Republicans country clubbers demonstrate how out of touch and disconnected they are with the world.