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Tea Party

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The so-called "Tea Party movement" emerged in 2009 as the public face of conservative opposition to the Obama administration. Although billed as a grassroots movement, it was put on the political map in April, 2009 after the conservative establishment, including Fox News and longtime GOP supporters like the Koch brothers, organized and promoted a series of nationwide rallies dubbed "Tax Day Tea Parties." By branding conservative opposition with the tea party label, conservatives were able to attack progressive policies without needing to defend the Republican brand which had been severely damaged during the Bush presidency. Despite helping drive up conservative enthusiasm and turnout in the 2010 elections, in individual Senate races the tea party movement may actually have hurt Republicans, costing them a special election in New York's 23rd congressional district and nominating five Senate candidates who lost races that a Republican would otherwise likely have won: Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, Joe Miller in Alaska (Republicans held the seat thanks to Lisa Murkowski's write-in bid), Sharron Angle in Nevada, John Raese in West Virginia, and Ken Buck in Colorado.


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