In the Washington Post, pollster Frank Luntz reports on the results of five issues he studied over the past two years: a balanced budget, the elimination of earmarks, low taxes and a simplified code, auditing federal agencies to help cut waste and red tape, and requiring Congress to cite its constitutional authorization for any bill passed. His conclusion?
I’ve found that each of these policies has at least 60 percent public support, so if you agree with most of them, it means you’re in the American mainstream. It also means that – wait for it – you agree with the tea party.
These points come directly from the tea-party-backed “Contract From America,” a document compiled from and voted on by the various tea party organizations and promoted by FreedomWorks, a conservative advocacy group. This governing agenda is supported not only by conservatives, but also by largely nonideological, anti-political voters in the middle.
The tea party is not some fringe coalition hopelessly removed from the mainstream. It is not, as The Washington Post recently wrote, “a disparate band of vaguely connected gatherings that do surprisingly little to engage in the political process.” The movement supplied the ideas that made independent voters flip from favoring Democrats by an 18-point margin in 2006 to supporting Republicans by 15 points Tuesday – and it will keep pressuring the government to change until the government truly changes.
It will come as no surprise to Tea Partiers that we are the mainstream, but it’s nice to have legitimate polling backing it up. This is why long term our movement will ultimately succeed and restore this nation to its founding principles. Because the American people are largely with us, including many who don’t know it yet, our job is simply to reach them with the message they already support.
Let’s get to work.