How did conservatives create such a powerful grassroots movement recently

Lately it seems the tea party and a grassroots conservative movement that exists outside of the control of the republican party has accomplished a lot when it comes to using primaries to the right to push out establishment candidates and put up tea party candidates all over the nation.

The democratic party has had some primaries, but we’ve really only had 3 I can think of where liberal grassroots support of the more liberal candidate made a difference.

Obama vs. Hillary (Obama was seen as the more liberal candidate due to his opposition to the war, among other things. His victory over Clinton was arguably a primary from the left)

Sestak vs. Specter

Lincoln vs Halter (despite Halter losing, it was still a close run)
But by and large it doesn’t seem the dems have anywhere near the grassroots energy and mobilization that the GOP does to push out establishment candidates and replace them with more ideological ones.

So why is that? How did conservatives build such a powerful movement in 2 years?

With the tea party interrupting town hall debates, I don’t consider that ‘that’ impressive. There were far far more liberals marching against Iraq in 2003 than there ever were tea party members going to town hall meetings.

But the primaries from the right are extremely impressive. Liberals seem to know how to march and send letters, but politicans couldn’t give a shit about that. The only thing they really seem to fear is a primary opponent or losing in a general election, and conservatives seem far far better at the primary part (although, to the benefit of liberals, some of those candidates the tea party put up are so extreme they may lose the general. But they also may not).

I remember in the 2008 election the Obama campaign sent out a message that activists shouldn’t donate money and activist energy within the campaign rather than going to outside agencies (moveon, etc), and that those agencies shouldn’t run as many independent ads. I am insanely naive (and fairly new to poiltics, esp back then), because at the time I assumed there was some good intent behind that. But now that I’m a little wiser I realize the goal was to avoid what has happened with the tea party, the DNC and Obama administration did not want a well funded, well organized left wing activist movement that wasn’t under the control of the DNC out there. That is what the tea party is on the GOP isle (a powerful grassroots movement that the GOP can’t control).

So my questions are:
Have conservatives built a powerful grassroots movement in the last few years to engage in primaries from the right, or did that movement already exist before the tea party and all these primaries? These primaries seem to be recent, I don’t remember a time in recent history with so many anti-establishment primary upsets.

If they created it, how did they do it so fast? What role does opposition to Obama and a democratic supermajority play? What role did disappointment with the Bush administration play? What role did the economy play?

What role does opposition to any incumbent (dem or republican) play in this movement vs the desire for ideological purity?

Why are conservative grassroots primaries from the right so much more effective than primares from the left on the dem side? Or are they not, and it is just observer bias?

Is it powerful or just noisy? I daresay waiting to see how much influence they have over the November elections will demonstrate one way or the other.

I think it is powerful. The media ignored the Iraq war protests of 2003 but put a handful of tea party protests of health reform on the evening news every day. So the noise factor is grossly exaggerated. An Iraq war protest with 100k people barely makes the news, a tea party rally with 5k is on the evening news.

But it seems the tea party was able to take their energy and use it productively to engage in primares to the right, pushing out about half a dozen senate candidates and I’m sure dozens of house candidates and probably tons of state/local candidates too. Liberals and unions don’t seem able to do the same thing on the left and engage in meaningful primaries.

I don’t remember any primaries from the left against all the conservadems who supported Bush’s economic and foreign policies. Liberals were too busy sending emails, signing petitions and marching which was all ignored by politicians. Conservatives did something effective, they did primaries.

It’s not recent – they started building the movement back in the '70s; Reagan was their first success, but not their last.

The latter IMHO. The Republicans have been sucking up to the fringe lunatics for decades, and at this point have pretty much merged with them. They were pretty loud during the Clinton years; it’s not so much they just recently appeared, as it is they had 8 years with a Republican government and had little reason to get worked up.

As for why they’ve decided to run candidates instead of running around in the woods in camos or hiding in bunkers waiting for the United Nations to come eat them, my theory is that they’ve finally achieved enough prevalence in the Republicans to pull it off. Or think they have. The crazies have been moving in, the moderates and pragmatists have been fleeing, and the crazies think they can kick out the party elite and make the party wholly theirs. Or at least, I suspect that’s more or less what they are thinking (presumably with different terms than “crazies”, of course).

Yeah, I was going to say, it’s not 2 years. However much certain parties deny it, a lot of those now wearing the Tea Party colors were in the “Christian Coalition” 20-odd years ago, & boosting the “Contract with America” in 1994. New fashion, new label, but draws on the same old dudes to a fair degree.

Well, it seems to me that there is a large contingant of working and middle class Americans, mostly in the rural Middle America states who are naturally distrustful and fearful of people who are gay, black (or other minorities), highly educated, or wealthy. The more those people visibly succeed, the more fearful a distrustful the convservatives become. The Republicans have tapped into this.

Just loud. If you say things often enough, it sounds important.

Basically, the most radical of the republicans broke off and formed this party. Therefore, whatever size it is, the total is the same as the original.

Once you decide that the ends justify the means, anything is possible.

The tea party is most decidedly not the old Christian Coalition. Some of them may be children of people in the old Christian Coalition, but any movement that atttracts the elderly is by definition going to have a pretty good change in personnel after 20 or 30 years.

Most analysts agree that the Tea Party is in general more libertarian and less socially conservative than the old Christian Right. But the animating force for the tea party right now is economics and big government. They’re getting kicked in the teeth by the recession, and bossed around by a large government that is actively hostile to them, and they’re sick of it.

As to why they may be more effective, well, the left tends to be made up of young students and old academics, and a whole lot of poor people. The Tea Party is made up of self-employed people, the business class, and a good chunk of the engineering and technical classes. I wonder which one of these might be better at organizing if both are equally motivated?

Tendentious answers aside, a more important factor is Twitter and Facebook and the blogosphere. The right is a powerhouse online - especially the libertarian, business-class right. They’ve got a lot of money, and a lot of skills. They are very good at web communications. They’re good at setting up businesses. But Twitter and Facebook are really important here - once these people found each other and linked up through the social networks, it was possible to call together large rallies, meetings, and in general to keep communication going and keep everyone fired up.

Nonsense. The “Tea Party” is a collection of ignorant bigoted lunatics, many of whom are supported by by the same government they hate so much. “Get your government hands off my Medicare”. They’re idiots. Bigoted, thuggish idiots. They are enraged that a black man is President, and they believe an incoherent mishmash of nonsense that is neither self consistent nor has anything to do with reality.

Umm. No. These numbers indicate clearly that tea partiers are the usual suspects: anti-immigration, white, and Republican.

One nugget:
Quinnipiac A Quinnipiac University poll of 1,907 adult Americans conducted in March 2010, found that of those who identified themselves as part of the Tea Party movement:[112][113][114]

* 88% were white
* 55% were women
* 77% voted for 2008 GOP presidential candidate John McCain
* 74% identified themselves as Republicans or independents who lean Republican
* 16% said they are Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents
* 60% have a favorable impression of the Republican Party
* 82% have an unfavorable opinion of the Democratic Party

Its the economy stupid. Things are going poorly enough with the economy that people are willing to listen to all sorts of stupid ideas.

These are the same sort of people who frothed at the mouth all through the Clinton years while the economy was doing much better. No, it’s not the economy. it’s the fact that there’s a Democrat - a black Democrat - in the White house.

I’m not saying it’s exactly the same. More like this: GOP-affiliated groups (some of whom are churches) see the Tea Party as the new GOP thing & throw themselves into it, superficially.

The father of one of my old school classmates has apparently been trying to be “Mr Republican” for years (considering how knee-jerk GOP the area supposedly is, I don’t know that most people care…). He used to be in the papers with his group protesting strip clubs. Now he puts on a hat to evoke the 1770’s & goes to Tea Party events.

The old organizations were there, & could use their members. The Tea Party is a (very) slight rebranding with some slight reorganization/updated organizing theory.

If you want an explanation for the disparity, here’s a WAG. A lot of the potential base for a New Dealer party work long &/or irregular hours, for relatively low pay, with little vacation time; & thus find it harder to organize. Vicious cycle.

Democrats in the area are basically organized through existing labor unions (& the Teamsters are faithless anyway). And these days the local Dem-leaning voters & candidates tend somewhat more to young libertarian types who just don’t fit in the Religious Right box they see in the GOP.

It’s hard to build a party out of a union of idealistic civil libertarians & New Dealers.

You are going to see just how powerful it is in November. Keep in mind the minority party does well during off-presidential election years. So to do well, they must capture more seats than is usual in an off-year. I predict that the off-year effect is less than normal, indicating that it is a weak movement.

How did this weak movement get so strong? How about how did it get so much favorable press? Because the media is giving it favorable coverage. Small tea bagger protests of a few hundred people have got more coverage than anti-war protests of a few years back of several hundred thousand received. Why? Because the press is owned by big corporations, who want war to sell munitions.

What is the tea bagger movement? Nothing more than revolt by some Republicans against the party hierarchy and simultaneous attempt by the others to rebrand a fatally damaged public image.

The Republican brand was fatally damaged by the implementation of its real policies from 2000 to 2008, which were crackpot policies of endless war and endless debt and immigration fear mongering. As demographics change more and more in the US, the Republicans are falling apart because they played to ignorant race mongering since the 1960s.

Business Republicans are meanwhile deciding whether to join the Democrats and take over the party through something called the Democratic Leadership Conference, which are the right wing democrats, of which Obama (and the Clintons) are members.

How did conservatives create such a powerful grassroots movement recently?

By appealing to the innate racism that it is now obvious is still deeply entrenched in vast swathes of White America. Also, by lying.

Another vote for racism, xenophobia, and homophobia mobilizing a group of people who are really afraid.

Government has grown beyond the consent of the Governed. Tea Party members are those who are expected to pay for a government they neither need nor want.

Watch Allen West, you liberals, and see what you’re up against.

They’re not powerful. They’re just splitting the repub vote.