Nevada Tea Party Falling Apart as GOP Race Moves Out West
A really in-depth story from the new political team at Buzzfeed describes the sorry state of Nevada's once powerful Tea Party, and serves as a good example of the perils of grassroots organizing which face both the Tea Party writ large and also the nascent Occupy movement, which has done things somewhat differently.
LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Two years after this state defined the influence – and peril – of Tea Party politics, Republican candidates are arriving to find a confusing, dysfunctional, and shattered conservative grassroots.
In 2010, Nevadans chose a raw insurgent ideologue, Sharron Angle, to take on Harry Reid, motivated by a deep backlash against President Obama, and at the urging of national figures like Sarah Palin. But Angle’s inability to defeat the weakened incumbent sent the state’s tea parties into a spiral of irrelevance and dysfunction, leaders here said--their influence diluted, and their organizations plagued by gossipy infighting, internal power-grabs, and allegations of opportunism.
In what has become a microcosm of the movement nationwide, the unifying populism of the midterms has given way here to a host of bickering factions with no common cause, no money to fund a resurgence, and no clear leaders.
Read more here--there's a lot of telling detail and color to be explored in this piece.
Now it's important to note that the political press defines power perhaps too much in terms of ability to elect candidates, but this is still a great object lesson. As I wrote last month, sometimes focusing on issues instead of candidates, as Occupy has done, can create lasting power and avoid flameouts like Angle's.