Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tea Party Dilemma: To GOP Or Not To GOP?

Like thousands of other Americans, Jim Knapp got involved with the Tea Party movement in the spring of 2009. Knapp, who lives in Sacramento, California, helped form a local group that organized a well-attended event on Tax Day last April. But around May, something unexpected happened: Locally-based Republican party strategists started coming to the group's meetings. That alarmed Knapp and many of his fellow activists, who were motivated in large part by a deep suspicion of both major parties. The Republicans, said Knapp, wanted to turn the Tea Partiers into a source of grassroots muscle for the GOP, and sought to stymie any effort by the activists to create a third party -- an idea Knapp supported. According to Knapp, one female Republican media specialist at the meeting flatly declared: "Our biggest fear is that the Tea Party will evolve into a third party." Such an occurrence would be a "death knell" to the already shrinking state GOP, the woman said, according to Knapp. "It was very clear that they didn't want this movement to get out of their control," he more

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