From The Grio — On Wednesday October 20 the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights in conjunction with the NAACP released the report . According to the report it examines histories and the “corporate structure and leadership, finances, and membership concentrations” of “six of the national organizational networks at the core of the Tea Party Movement.” The six Tea Party organizational elements examined are the Freedom Works Tea Party, 1776 Tea Party, Tea Party Nation, Tea Party Patriots, ResistNet and the Tea Party Express.
The report is very clear from the outset, “the majority of movement supporters are people of good will.” But, integrated into their calls for a reduction of the budget deficit, greater focus on the national debt, and smaller government are concerns about race, sexual orientation, national identity, national birth rights and who qualifies to be an American. As the Tea Party movement has taken shape amidst calls for less government, lower taxes, and less government spending; racist, white-nationalist, anti-immigrant, homophobic, and anti-Semitic elements have found their way into the “movement”.
The authors of the report use different methodologies to gather their data such as national opinion polls, Tea Party published literature and books, blog posts, tweets from Tea Partiers, hours of video from Tea Party events, and first hand accounts from attending Tea Party meetings, conventions and rallies across the country. They also conducted interviews with Tea Party members.
The report presents some very interesting findings. It estimates the size of the Tea Party movement to be between 16-18 percent of the adult population; putting the number of sympathizers in the tens of millions. This is considered the outer ring of support. The next level is a less defined group of a couple of million activists who go to meetings, buy literature, and attend national events. At the core is a group of 250,000 individuals who have signed on to the web sites of the six core groups in all 50 states.
The Movement is a vast array or loose affiliation of organizations, many listed above. It’s a “multimillion dollar complex that includes for-profit corporations, non-party non-profit organizations, and political action committees.” The 1776 Tea Party a.k.a TeaParty.org grew out of the anti-immigrant Minuteman Project. Tea Party Nation has grown from the “birthers” and Christian nationalist and nativist organizations. Many members of the Tea Party Patriots are calling to repeal the Seventeenth Amendment of the Constitution that allows for the direct election ofU.S. Senators. Groups such as the Tea Party Express have made such vile racist pronouncements that other movement elements have distanced themselves from it.