The 2010 midterm elections were marked by ubiquitous images of voters waving Gadsen flags in the sun, women with tea bags hanging from their hat brims, and determined men in Paul Revere costumes shouting proclamations.
What happened to those people?
If you ask the people who helped organize the tea party into a movement, they'll readily concede that tea party rallies this election cycle are not as prolific as they were in 2010. But they say they're doing one better this year: Instead of simply rallying, they're organized and on the ground (and on the phone, in your mailbox and on your radio and television) in select states to try to elect tea party candidates to office and effect what they say is "real change."
"The movement has matured … and we're now tea party 2.0," Amy Kremer, chairwoman of Tea Party Express, told Yahoo News.
Somewhere in this morass is the point;
The Tea Party Express, which is focused this year on helping Republicans win back the Senate, has endorsed five Senate candidates in addition to Mourdock: Ted Cruz in Texas, Sarah Steelman in Missouri, Jon Bruning in Nebraska, Josh Mandel in Ohio and Tom Smith in Pennsylvania.
FreedomWorks shares some of the same targets, plus additional House and Senate candidates, including incumbents such as Rep. Steve King of Iowa—a tea party star.
Steinhauser identified races in Texas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Missouri, Florida and Maine among those states where FreedomWorks is active.
They're just Republicans, running candidates in either Republican primaries or in the general. They're not a new political phenomenon. They don't represent any exciting paradigm shift. They're not a third party. They're not a different species. They may make a lot of noise about not tolerating "RINOs" or mouth some "both parties are fiscally irresponsible" pablum on occasion but when push comes to vote, they'll pull the lever for the same party they always have because Teh Lie-bruls SUXXORZ.
That the fuss seems to have died down about them is just evidence that the fuss has died down. It's not evidence of anything else whatsoever.