Tea Party on Technology



Social media allows organizing opposition without Party

I was frequently invited to address a proliferating number of so-called Tea Party rallies. The conservative and libertarian activists who attended the rallies had formed an informal alliance to protest the stimulus bill and the accelerated leftward drift of government policies. They were focused on one thing--government's growing role in the national economy--and they weren't just angry at Democrats. They were mad at Republicans, too.

Their sudden prominence in the national debate was fueled by the confluence of 2 unique factors. In a single action, the president had monumentally exacerbated concerns about government spending and our massive national debt. And the widespread access to social media gave people the means to communicate those fears and organize their opposition without relying on the convening power of a national political party. With Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and texts, anyone could become a political organizer.

Source: An American Son, by Marco Rubio, p.176 , Jun 19, 2012

Open-source community grew to 1.2 million in 2 months

Our Web site--which had no money, no advertising, and minimal functionality--was quickly deluged with traffic. So how did we grow from 22 people to 1.2 million people in less than 2 months?

We did not fully realize it at the time, but we were organizing the Tea Party movement along the lines of an open-source community. In the world of computer software, open-source communities are driven by innovation contributed by individuals. Open source simply means that a system is available to any who wish to contribute. It provides the fastest possible rate of improvement for ideas, and in the case of the Tea Party movement, this notion was fundamental to the development of a true political revolution.

The alternative to open-source development is what is known as a closed system. The Republican and Democratic parties both work this way. In closed systems, ideas originate only at the top of the pyramid. They are then handed down through layers of bureaucracy,

Source: Tea Party Patriots, by M.Meckler & J.B.Martin, p. 19-20 , Feb 14, 2012

Leadership opposes net neutrality; grassroots has no opinion

The Tea Party Patriots (TPP) website was up and running within days of the original Santelli rant. [One of the] co-founders is a GOP consultant. Dubbing itself the "official grassroots American movement," TPP has developed the strongest ties to grassroots activists.

TPP was originally supported by FreedomWorks. TPP also lines up in lockstep with FreedomWorks on certain issues where grassroots activists seem to have no say or involvement. In the spring of 2011, for example, the Tea Party Patriots' homepage bore a lengthy statement of opposition to net neutrality, a policy also opposed by FreedomWorks and the telecommunications industry. But this issue was literally never raised in any of our Tea Party meetings or interviews. The prominent TPP stance on net neutrality is not attributable to grassroots mobilization.

Source: The Remaking of Republican Conservatism, p.108 , Jan 2, 2012

Ordinary folks, dismissed by MSNBC and establishment pundits

The Tea Party movement began in earnest as the result of boiling frustration among Americans, triggered by the dramatic expansion of government into their private affairs through bailouts and so-called stimulus plans. Thousands of people around the country--ordinary folks--gathered at Tea Parties and organized protests and marches in towns across American and in Washington. While most Democrats have been dismissive of the Tea Parties--just witness the vulgar terminology used by MSNBC pundits--the Republican Party has been a hotbed of political activity in primaries, where Tea Party activists and other frustrates Americans are having a real impact.

There is a movement afoot to send to Washington people who represent the people, instead of themselves or the political establishment. But happily, there is recognition that the Republican Party is the place where the real debate is happening--and the result has been the nomination of nonestablishment candidates in states across the country.

Source: Fed Up!, by Gov. Rick Perry, p.147 , Nov 15, 2010

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Page last updated: May 05, 2021