There is one big problem with writing a non-fiction book
about any subject: the moment ink is placed on paper or the 1’s and 0’s of
binary code are set in such a way as to create coherent words and sentences
that appear on your e-reading screen, the history is frozen in time. In my
case, my history of the TEA Party stopped in the spring of 2019 once I finished
The Rise and Fall of the TEA Party – And How It Elected Donald Trump.
But, in some cases, the events, organizations, and some of the people I
documented marched on, leaving the story incomplete.
This longing for continuation is nothing new. When I
originally began working on RAF, the book was intended to conclude with
the chapter that came to be known as “Onboard the Trump Train.” As time went
on, and the original deadline of the spring of 2018 stretched further and
further out, the book evolved to add its final two regular chapters on the
attempts to repeal Obamacare and the runup to the 2018 midterms. (I also added
the epilogue, which was initially intended to be part of the chapter on
Obamacare before I decided it needed to stand alone.) In fact, there are a few
items I reference in the book as part of a continuing process, such as the
special election in North Carolina that’s a do-over for a flawed 2018 race.
These updates are, in part, intended to follow these continuing stories to
But there’s another thing I’ve noticed, and it struck me at
times during my ongoing radio tour. There are a few things I’ve been regarded
as an expert on over the course of my life: history and sports trivia as part
of my high school quiz team, Maryland General Assembly legislation (a.k.a. the
“90 Days of Terror”) while I was active in local politics, and now, thanks to
this book, I’m considered an expert on the TEA Party. I’ve been asked where the
rise came and the fall was and where it will go from here, and I have my
opinion on all these questions. Moreover, it’s worth pointing out that I don’t
have a vested interest in the success of a particular TEA Party or organization
– while I certainly agree with and wish to promote the concept of limited,
Constitutional government, it can be achieved whether we have a Tea Party
Patriots or Tea Party Express or not. In my opinion, sometimes those
well-meaning groups (and many others trading on the TEA Party name) got in the
way – but they are still worth following as the political world evolves.
There’s also a second and extremely important part to my addressing this problem: my intent is to eventually transform this website devoted to The Rise and Fall of the TEA Party into a general author site for all my past, present, and future works, including my website monoblogue, which is the vehicle 80 to 90 percent of my acquaintances know me by. I’ve written two books which combined run about 400 pages, but in writing over 5,000 blog posts I’ve probably done enough material for fifty books – and most readers don’t know my first book So We May Breathe Free: Avoiding Ineptocracy (2012) was based initially on a series of blog posts I called the 50 Year Plan, pieces which date back to the early days of my website way back in 2007.
Thus, the intention is that this update will be a quarterly
effort. I don’t think there’s enough material for a monthly update, but I don’t
want the subject to get too far out of mind such that having an annual or
semi-annual edition would create. Four times a year seems just right – and who
knows? Maybe this could end up being a print newsletter or something that makes
me a few shekels to enhance my retirement.
For now, though, how about we delve into what’s going on
with the TEA Party and some of the items I concluded my book with?
I suppose the first update is that NC-9 Congressional race,
which will be contested on September 10 because Republican Dan Bishop avoided a
runoff by garnering 48% of the primary vote back in May. He faces Democrat Dan
McCready, who lost the 2018 election, along with Green Party hopeful Allen
Smith and Libertarian Jeff Scott, who also lost that 2018 election. So both
sides have a siphon from their support. By the end of September, the fine folks
of that district should be represented once again – however, that September 10
date won’t be the only election in North Carolina since NC-3 voters now have to
replace the late Rep. Walter Jones, a maverick Republican who often departed
from the party line. The GOP already held a seat earlier this year in
I hadn’t really talked a lot about the Tea Party Patriots
toward the end of the book as the number of TEA Party chapters has dwindled. So
in looking up their goings-on over the last few months, I learned that their
once-regular monthly updates ceased over a year ago – May
2018 as a matter of fact. Over the last few months, the TPP has basically
come down to doing a somewhat regular feature called Lunchbreak
Live, which gets a few thousand views. But it’s a far cry from the
practically daily releases I sometimes had to wade through to find relevant
material for my book.
I will say, though, they still have a broad list of action
items so they are still providing guidance to activists who still believe in
the TPP’s cause. On the other hand, aside from an admonition about the upcoming
spending deal (which I will return to momentarily) as well as an announcement
about the “Tea
Party for Trump” coming from erstwhile participant Lloyd Marcus, the Tea
Party Express has been all but silent over the last few months. I wonder if
they even have their buses anymore?
Now, about that spending deal. On Tuesday, thanks to The
Patriot Post, I came across one of the most damning indictments of the
current situation in Washington that I’ve seen in some time – and unfortunately,
every word is true. “New Budget Deal Puts Final Nail In Tea Party Coffin,” cried
National Review, and in a nutshell it’s a sad history of our spending
Thus, to those on the radio who ask me where the fall of the
TEA Party occurred, this may be part of answering the question. I’ll certainly
admit there are still many millions of people out there who supported at least
some of the TEA Party agenda, but the problem came as it always did: believing
the political process would be the shortcut we needed to avoid the necessary
changing of hearts and minds.
I suppose the only counsel I could give you is akin to
advice I’ve given in a couple of my radio interviews: get off the social media,
open the front door, and start talking to your neighbors about the benefits of
liberty. (Well, maybe some icebreakers about the weather, how the local ball team
is doing, and so forth first – work your way around to it.) The biggest problem
with political discourse today is that we do it from behind a keyboard, often
with an assumed name. I figure if you’re too ashamed to say what you do without
being behind the mask of anonymity (with reasonable exceptions) then the
statement probably should be taken with multiple grains of salt. It’s what
drives me crazy about people who pass along years-old fables and fake news
without thinking – oftentimes, they are on the right side of the political
spectrum and we’re supposed to be the smart ones.
After all, if we as a group could put together half a
hundred rallies around the country in eight February days and top it well over
tenfold a few weeks later, we must have a little common sense. Let’s use the
lessons we learned from the previous rendition of the TEA Party and figure out
a way to work back toward the Constitutional republic we were supposed to keep.