How the Tea Party helped Trump win the election
By Jenny Beth Martin
Published November 12, 2016
Trump’s transition team considers Cabinet, key appointments
Now that the American people have hired Donald Trump and the Republicans to right the ship of state, it’s time to get to work.
Trump’s stunning win on Election Night defied the pollsters’ expectations, conventional wisdom about how campaigns must be run, and even the Washington Establishment’s narrative about what it is, exactly, that American voters want.
That last point is of particular interest to Tea Party conservatives. We have long argued that the Washington Establishment is disconnected from (and sometimes simply disinterested in) the issues that are most pressing to American voters.
By all accounts, Donald Trump should not have won. In fact, looking at any number of metrics, Trump’s campaign lagged far behind Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
For months, he consistently trailed Clinton in every major national poll. He raised significantly less money than she did (and as of the end of October, had raised only roughly half as much as Clinton’s campaign).
He underperformed in the first debate. And his campaign, we were constantly reminded, was light-years behind Clinton’s campaign in terms of a ground game, grassroots operations, and Get Out the Vote (GOTV) efforts.
The Republican nominee’s win, then, is nothing short of remarkable, and it challenges many of the fundamental beliefs held by the political class.
Donald Trump won because, at the end of the day, this election was not about money raised, or slick campaign operations. This election was about one overarching theme: ending the status quo in Washington, D.C.
Throughout his campaign, Trump reiterated his willingness to disrupt all of the “norms” in Washington. Those “norms” include the culture of cronyism, the backroom deals, and the pervasive notion that rules simply do not apply to the Washington Elites.
In electing Donald Trump, the American people delivered a firm repudiation of “business as usual” in Washington.
Donald Trump won his bid for the White House because he ran on overwhelmingly popular and commonsense issues, including bringing accountability to Washington, D.C., enforcing our nation’s immigration laws, and restoring fiscal sanity to the out-of-control spending culture that reigns in Washington.
If that agenda sounds familiar, it should. It’s the same agenda the Tea Party movement broadly, and Tea Party Patriots specifically, has helped to advance over the last several years.
Because of his willingness to stand up for our economic principles and our commitment to enforcing the country’s existing immigration laws already on the books, Tea Party Patriots activists across the country came together to back Mr. Trump.
Our army of activists engaged in a variety of voter-to-voter contacts, including knocking on tens of thousands of doors in swing states, writing out postcards with personal messages, and making more than 1.5 million volunteer phone calls.
Our efforts have paid off, and Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund is proud of our tens of thousands of volunteers who devoted time and energy to ensuring that Donald Trump would win, and that the GOP would retain its majority in the Senate.
President-elect Donald Trump deserves to be congratulated, not only for winning the presidency, but also for campaigning so unabashedly on his promise to shake things up in Washington. Because of Trump’s consistent emphasis on his intentions to rein in the federal government, it turns out that the real loser in this election cycle was not primarily a political candidate or campaign, but, rather a political philosophy – namely, the political viewpoint that Big Government is the end-all and be-all solution to every problem. This viewpoint was the signature feature of Barack Obama’s presidency, and it was the campaign platform for all of the Democrats, from Hillary Clinton to Senate Democrat candidates. Americans resoundingly rejected that viewpoint this election cycle.
In addition to defeating the Big Government philosophy, another significant collateral “win” from this election is that it effectively mutes the Washington Establishment’s oft-repeated allegation that the tea party movement is dead.
The myth that the Tea Party movement has run its course and is on the decline is a convenient narrative, and a clever technique to dismiss and sideline an effective political opponent. After all, no one needs to take seriously a dormant or dead movement.
This election, however, is definitive proof not only of our ability to engage in political races and help the candidates win, but also affirms the broad popularity of our message and agenda.
Winning elections is only half the battle, of course. While we celebrate the election victories this week, we are also preparing for the next phase – helping Mr. Trump and the Republicans in Congress live up to their campaign pledges to repeal ObamaCare, pursue a balanced budget, immigration policies that respect the rule of law, and sound tax policy. In other words, the hard work really begins in January.
The Tea Party is looking forward to rolling up our collective sleeves and getting to work.
Jenny Beth Martin is co-founder and national coordinator of Tea Party Patriots, a national grassroots organization with more than 3500 chapters.