Saturday, March 8, 2014
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Tea party attendees were recently profiled by The New York Times, which reported on April 15 that they tend to be Republican, white, older than 45, wealthier, and better educated than the average American.
That led liberal pundits to reject the label "populist" and call them "elitists" instead.
However, as Mara Liason said on Fox News last week, that's also the profile "of the person most likely to vote."
While only about 20 percent of Americans claim to be tea party members, sympathy in the electorate has risen to 58 percent among voters, Rasmussen reported on April 23. And Gallup reported the same day that "the advantage in public support the Democratic Party built up (in the past four years) has all but disappeared," with 46 percent of Americans now saying they were Democrats or leaned that way, compared to 45 percent for the Republicans.
That offers hope, even though that trend's future depends on what the GOP does with it.
Americans will not reject middle-class entitlements like Medicare and Social Security. So, the party needs a unified, clear plan to make those programs fiscally sound and empower individuals instead of government to control them.
The GOP needs to speak out and take effective political action not just for tax cuts but for spending control, too (along the lines of Gov. Chris Christy in New Jersey) -- while holding off Democrats' attempts to impose a value-added tax on all levels of production and consumption as their preferred way to pay the bills they are running up.
If all that happens, the party has a chance of not going the way of the Whigs.
But it's going to be close.
M.D. Harmon is an editorial writer. He can be contacted at 791-6482 or: