Third Party Tea Party?

Though many identify the tea party movement with the GOP, third party and independent activists have had a strong role in the various tea party groups from the very beginning.  TPM Muckraker reports on the split within the tea party movement between those who seek accommodation with the Republican Party and those seeking independent and third party alternatives to the two-party political status quo:

Knapp, who lives in Sacramento, California, helped form a local group that organized a well-attended event on Tax Day last April. But around May, something unexpected happened: Locally-based Republican party strategists started coming to the group’s meetings. That alarmed Knapp and many of his fellow activists, who were motivated in large part by a deep suspicion of both major parties. “I said, ‘what the fuck are you doing here?'” the blunt-spoken Knapp told TPMmuckraker. . . .

Eight months later, the philosophical divide that roiled Knapp’s Sacramento-based group is being replayed on a national scale . . . and the issue is creating turmoil in Tea Party circles across the country. “I think what we have in the movement is the GOP trying to take control, and a lot of the groups are trying to fight them on this,” Robin Stublen, a Tea Party Patriots (TPP) volunteer, told TPMmuckraker recently. . .

But many of the rank-and-file Tea Partiers whose energy helped launch the movement last spring — and among whom a more libertarian ideology often prevails — remain deeply wary of getting into bed with the GOP. And lately, they’ve started speaking out.

In an impassioned cri de coeur that reverberated around the movement last week, Kevin Smith, a Nashville activist who had worked with Tea Party Nation, denounced the organizer of the national convention as a patsy for the GOP. “What began as cries for true liberty and a public showing of frustration with the big government policies of both Democrats and Republicans,” Smith lamented, “has now been co-opted by mainstream Republican demagogues determined to use this as their 2010 election platform.” . . .

As for Knapp, he said he’s now working with some of the disaffected Tea Partiers from Tea Party Nation to start building a nationwide third party movement based on Tea Party principles — with no ties whatsoever to the Republican party. And he denounced his fellow Tea Partiers who have tried to work with Republicans. “They’re living in Disney Land,” he said, “if they think they can reform the GOP.”

53 thoughts on “Third Party Tea Party?

  1. Michael Seebeck

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: they won’t get the ballot access to be effective.

    They should skip the GOP, and join the LP. We have the ballot access and they don’t.

  2. Thomas L. Knapp


    You write:

    “Has the BTP ever been seen as being THE Tea Party, since the names are similar?”

    In a word, no.

    The “tea party movement” originated with the LP in Illinois, quickly became transpartisan, and then began to fall to GOP co-option efforts. The BTP hasn’t played, nor has it been seen as playing, a major role in the “tea party movement.”

    Some BTPers have certainly been active in “tea party” movement events and such.

    The BTP’s national committee endorsed Joe Kennedy in Massachusetts, and I believe received/responded to some media inquiries about the role of the tea parties in the Massachusetts Senate election.

    From the way he talks, though, I have to suspect that the “Knapp” cited in the article is a relative of mine 😉

  3. libertarianblue

    My fear of the Tea Party movement being hijacked by the Neocons has slowly coming true with the support alot of them threw behind Hoffman and Brown. Its getting sad.

  4. Lisa

    Wouldn’t a Tea Party just be a Libertarian Party in disguise? Really, what would be the difference?

    question Thomas, I live in NY but followed the race, and I couldn’t help but notice the BTP endorsed Joe Kennedy, yet some other group called the Greater Boston Tea Party rallied around Brown. What gives?

    And regarding the convention, I read that Palin is going to donate her 100k speaking fee to political candidates of her choosing. I am curious if she would consider endorsing a third party candidate again like she did in NY 23, or does she intend to send that money strictly to republicans? Yes it’s her money and she can do whatever she likes with it, but if this thing is really a fundraiser for the GOP I think they should be upfront about it. I’m not bashing Palin or Republicans, but the whole thing seems disingenuous.

  5. libertarianblue


    The Tea Party is very splintered from what I see. Alot of them its just about taxes, some are just anti-Obama/Democrat machines and some are true Libertarian ones. BTW where in NY are you? Im in the Hudson Valley region.

  6. Thomas L. Knapp


    You write:

    “question Thomas, I live in NY but followed the race, and I couldn’t help but notice the BTP endorsed Joe Kennedy, yet some other group called the Greater Boston Tea Party rallied around Brown. What gives?”

    Presumably the Greater Boston Tea Party is a local Boston organization. It’s not related to the BTP so far as I know.

  7. Gary

    All three parties were represented in TV debates for the Mass. Senate election:

    1) the Left-Wing Socialist Party
    2) the Right-Wing Socialist Party
    3) the Libertarian Party

    After hearing all sides voters went 99% for Socialism. The Tea Parties mean nothing. The Republic is dead.

  8. The Last Conservative

    And I’m very happy about that the Republic is dead. It was almost dead from the beginning. The only step now is to accept the reality that true conservatism, absolute monarchy/Catholic feudalism, is the system we should return to.

  9. The Last Conservative

    The Conservative Feudalist Party is getting set to infiltrate local Tea Party groups and nominate several candidates for Congress in California. We’ll keep you posted.

  10. Morgan Brykein

    Gary, the reason why Kennedy only got one percent was because of the “wasted vote” factor. Voters are made to think voting for him would be a waste because he won’t win anyways, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Libertarianblue, I have the same fears. It seems like the movement is being hijacked by the interventionist right.

  11. George Phillies

    @9 The Greater Boston Tea Party is a local group very recently organized by a person from Chelmsford, MA, who happens if I read things correctly to be a Republican Town Committee member.

  12. David F. Nolan

    Last April, the organizers of the first Tea Party rally in Tucson, AZ invited me to speak. I did, and was well-received by the audience. Since then, however, only Republicans have been invited to speak at Tea Party events — the latest of which was a rally to support MORE spending for police. I’m afraid the “spirit of liberty” is pretty much gone from most Tea Party organizations.

  13. The Last Conservative

    TPR, thanks for being interested in the CFP. A full platform is still being developed, but basically we support the complete abolition of freedom, the republic and the democracy, in favor of an absolute monarchy, Catholicism as the state religion, and feudalist economic structure where the bankers, CEOs and other rich people will get aristocratic titles, buy up all of the land in the country, and control the remaining population as serfs. We support wars of aggression against other countries (which ones have yet to be decided), no economic aid to education and healthcare, complete social conservatism with bans on abortion and gay marriage and no drug legalization, and high taxes to pay for military conflict and lives of luxury for the aristocrats and king. We believe in the death penalty for criminals, an end to all labor unions, financial bailouts for the aristocrats/banks only, and no support for environmentalism; climate change is a myth. We will ban divorce and work towards putting women back in the home and not at work.

    Will you endorse us, TPR, just because we are a third party?

  14. d.eris

    TLC: “Will you endorse us, TPR, just because we are a third party?”

    It is not entirely clear, to me at least, that the CFP’s platform diverges enough from Democratic-Republican policy to justify its categorization as a third party.

  15. Solomon Drek

    Most of these tea drinkers are just motivated by an obsessive hatred for Obama.

    Wayne Root is simply channeling rightwing hatred for Obama into promoting his own career.

    I can’t prove it but I have a hunch a significant percentage of the tea drinkers just can’t get over an African-American as their president. Hence all the controversy about birth certificates, moslem background, etc.

    The reason tea drinkers supported Scott Brown so enthusiastically despite his rather moderate record is they just wanted to “stick it” to Obama.

    If you read the posts the tea drinkers put up on other websites the venomous hatred for Obama is pretty evident. It makes the attacks against Hillary Clinton in the 1990’s pretty tame in comparison.

    And from what I’ve read on their posts I suspect alot of these tea drinkers do want to turn the clock back to the “good ‘ole days” of white male supremacy and an oligopolistic economy.

  16. libertarianblue


    When I met with my local LP group one of the power players of the state party told us about some Central NY LPers trying to recruit some Tea Partiers. According to him they experienced alot of racism from them but didnt go into detail.

  17. Mr. John A. Estes (L)

    Normal, appear’s tbe a Split, witin hteP arty ( to?!! NO); big-deal! Remove all connection'(s) between loco/all & Muni (state) region’s& collge’s FROM te National, Mouth-Peice (founder) Beck; f-up rein’vent’int “the Wheel” expectng differant result’s.
    (i)-dentifiny with RNC other’s to take-on PlatForm issue’s from u.s./U.S.? elected senator Brown went wishie-Washie Waffled, misc… (T) party leaning’s to be W., DC-ish; “Speak”
    (T) Party(er)’s; Unbrela, Movement ALL not just(T)’s. registered NOT to re-Register. Why teir (T)not (L)ibertarian’s, splinter-Group (Ron Paul’s (R) (L)(R)????? Barr/Root & LNC; too! have the SAME problem’s AS D & R’s

  18. The Last Conservative

    D.Eris, that is quite true in a sense, but the democrats and Republicans refuse to see the need for the end of even the facade of a constitutional republic, and would never allow a monarchy to take power. That’s enough of a platform difference. That’s a greater difference than the platforms of the various Socialist parties have between each other.

  19. LibertarianGirl

    SD_Most of these tea drinkers are just motivated by an obsessive hatred for Obama.

    me _ ususally I dont agree with Drek but heres my experience . My local LP has done tax protests for decades , this last one where the Tea Party movement kinda started in NV had a ton of people , most of them had anti-obama signs , not anti tax signs or pro liberty signs. In fact , in didnt seem like a anti income tax rally at all but an Obama bashing party .

    Funniest thing said to me that day: ” man we should have been doing this a long time ago”

    um , WE HAVE , the Livertarian Party has been protesting for years and years johnny come lately . LOL

    about Wayne , no sane person would capitalize on the LP for a career mve , its stupid and not very profitable . if he only cared about money he’d be a Republican and definitely in another line of business. COME ON , it doesnt pass the laugh test.

  20. Bruce Cohen

    The person who’s obsessed with hate here is Mister Sipos. He has no facts to back his position, so he must resort to personal attacks and name calling.

    The same as he does with me.

    The fact of the matter is, as LG said in 26, if Wayne wanted to sell more books and get more political support, he’d stick with the GOP.

    I’ll bet you when kooks like Sipos go after him he looks in the mirror and asks himself why ever he did this.

    Of course, what the extremists want is a tiny little closed club of synchophants that all walk and talk alike.

    Lying and cheating are acceptable to achieve this goal, as they have proven, is their philosophy.

    If Wayne wanted to make more money, he’d pretty much just leave politics all together.

    I know of no honest person who’s ever gotten rich through politics.

  21. Thomas M. Sipos

    LG: “about Wayne , no sane person would capitalize on the LP for a career mve , its stupid and not very profitable . if he only cared about money he’d be a Republican and definitely in another line of business. COME ON , it doesnt pass the laugh test.”

    I, and others, have already addressed this point. It apparently hasn’t stuck. I’ll try again.

    Root was nobody in politics. Sure, conservatives and the GOP are a bigger market — which is why Root is careful not to offend them. But conservative punditry/talk radio is a crowded field. And Root had no political creds.

    So, how was Root gonna get a foothold in the lucrative field of right-wing media punditry?

    Answer: start in the little leagues. The LP is a smaller pond. Easier to get noticed. So get the LP nomination, and leverage that into getting conservative/GOP attention, fans, and customers.

    Laugh test? Hey, LG — it worked! Think Root would have gotten his political book deal or radio show without the LP nomination? Think he’d keep reminding everyone of his nomination if it wasn’t beneficial to his career?

    Bruce Cohen: “The person who’s obsessed with hate here is Mister Sipos. He has no facts to back his position, so he must resort to personal attacks and name calling. The same as he does with me.”

    Obsessed with hate? Hey, Bruce, you’re the one who kept sending me hate emails while I edited California Freedom.

    Rather than respond with hate, I ignored your emails. You even mocked me in one of your emails for not daring to reply to you.

    And if you deny sending me hate emails, I’ll post some of them here.

  22. Average American

    What’s the deal with this guy “The Last Conservative?” Is he some sort of Colbert-like comedy act, or do you think he is really serious?

  23. Tom Blanton

    Bruce Cohen writes @ 29:

    “I know of no honest person who’s ever gotten rich through politics.”

    How true. It’s hard enough for a dishonest person to make money in politics.

    Is Wayne Root honest? Is any politician honest?

  24. Susan Hogarth

    @30 Tom, we ought to start a site called ‘Hate Mail From Bruce”. I have a decent collection, too. Bruce is filtered directly to trash, now, though, so I’ve probably missed a lot of ‘good’ hate mail lately.

  25. Susan Hogarth

    @33 I got inspired to check my ‘trash’ – yeah, there’s some funny stuff in there from Bruce all right. a gold mine of crap going to waste. I’ll post the site if you want to contribute, Tom. Hate mail just to me would be boring. Anyone else care to contribute? It would be a shame for Bruce’s talent for vitriol to continue to go unappreciated.

  26. Jerry Coon

    How can a movement such as the Tea Party say be considered a third party when the people they support are indeed Republicans? If I remember right, this movement is similiar to Christian Coalition, Moral Majority and Contract with America Republicans who say they will do great things and embrace their roots and yet at the end….repeat the duoplay and remain puppets of the Extravagant few, special interest and lobbyits… about “imitation”, they are the “hot pockets” of the pizza world.

  27. Thomas M. Sipos

    Susan, Bruce is a hypocrite. He talks about the need for libertarians to be “positive.” He tries to present himself to the world as positive and friendly. But behind the scenes, Bruce is hateful, with a gutter mouth.

    My advice, just collect and save Bruce’s vitriol. Keep in on your hard drive, and back it up.

    I’m not going to post my collection unless Bruce ever gives me reason. Such as by lying and denying his nasty hate mail habit.

  28. Robert Capozzi

    recall that the “Tea Party” movement was ignited by CNBC’s Rick Santelli calling for a Chicago Tea Party. That moment kicked off a nationwide movement, with a variety of leaders trying to get to the front of the parade.

    At this point, I’d say the Tea Party is mostly a threat to the Establishment GOP to be more “conservative” or else the grassroots will bolt and go third party with someone like Palin as their standardbearer. While the Tea Partiers have some L lineage, too, my sense is the Tea Party is a deadend for L involvement.

  29. libertarianblue


    I would have to agree and if Palin is the standard bearer than we’re in deep trouble because then the Tea Parties turn into a Populist Neoconservative movement. Palin doesnt care about liberty she supports our disastrous foreign policy and has yet to say a thing in regards to the Patriot Act.

  30. John Valianti

    Hi ALL!

    What we need is a true National Independent Party and we need it NOW! Scott Brown won becuase he went right after the Independents / Unenrolled In my home State of Massachusetts. Right now in Mass. and in most other Northeast States we Independents make up over 50% of the registered voters. That number is getting bigger year after year and we need to do something about it!
    I have nothing bad to say about Tea Party folks or protests / it is what our Country was founded on but Brown won with the votes from Independents. And he ran a focused campaign and Martha Coakley ran a unfocused / bad campaign. Scott Brown’s win was not a Republican or Tea Party win. As he says it was the people’s win. Republicans are taking advantage of this but why wouldn’t they…

    To that end we in Masaachusetts our starting the Massachusetts Independent Party to help Independents run and win! I know the next great political movement in our Country will be “The Independent Movement”. Are we ready to make it happen…

    Thank You
    John Valianti
    Marshfield, Massachusetts
    cell 617-240-9784

  31. Jim Knapp

    Our country needs a revolution, voting for a Democrat or a Republican is not revolutionary, it is big business as usual.

    A third party would not need to vote out every RINO or Democrat. We only need to take 10% of the House seats, this is very doable in conservative states. With 10% of congress we could control the agenda in Washington. Eventually, as the party proved itself and grew, we could take the Whitehouse.

    America needs a populist third party alternative to break up the corporate globalist controlled oligarchy we now have.

    Neither party represents the average working stiff.

    THE DNC = appear on the surface to represent socialist, welfare recipients, illegal alien loving, multiculturalists and those who look to the government for free cheese. But if you follow the money and their votes, they are whores for big business and Wall Street just as much as the Republicans. AND THIS WILL NEVER CHANGE!

    THE GOP = appear to be patriotic, flag waving, constitution loving Americans, but if you follow the money they are New World Order loving, oligarch supporting, pro Wall Street, Pro Communist China, pro illegal immigration, pro outsourcing American jobs, pro shipping our manufacturing base overseas and just all around lying sacks of manure. AND THIS WILL NEVER CHANGE!
    Facebook: Third Party Patriots

  32. Don Lake ......... His words, my thouths

    any comments on staying away from the ubiquitous dumb assed ‘standing out by blending in’ Eagle and Eagle Head ?????? I say this as the centennial of Teddy Roosevelt and [Californian] Hiram Johnson and their massive 1912 Bull Moose Party effort approaches …..

    [a] photographs of Mount Rushmore with the heads cut out and the remaining visual as a matting for inserted photos as fund raiser[s].

    [b] teddy bear stuffed toys with baby sized tee shirts as ‘Theodore Bears’ as fund raiser[s].

    [c] Bull Moose [see Vermont/ Green Mountain Progressive Party pages; Oregon has an Elk Logo]

    [d] Three bladed electricity producing wind mill as 21st Century Peace Sign

  33. Don Lake ......... His words, my thouths

    January 22, 2010 10:01 AM

    Apparently, nobody’s told the new brown shirts that they are brown shirts. Didn’t any of the leadership notice that nearly every speaker at every Tea Party event was either a Republican officeholder or a right-wing media personality? What did they *think* was going on?

    January 22, 2010 10:48 AM in reply to Matt Jones

    “nearly every speaker at every Tea Party event was either a Republican officeholder or a right-wing media personality”

    Not only that, but those speakers were the most radical right wing religious nut cakes in the Republican party.

    Are you sure this comment violates TPM’s Terms of Service?


    January 23, 2010 11:25 AM in reply to Matt Jones

    Good analogy.They don’t realise they are the tools to salvage the Repukes and are so compromised by fame, money, and power. They will be used and tossed on the dustbin of history. Bring on the Night of the Long Knives!!

    January 22, 2010 10:09 AM

    The irony attempted in this post looks even more ironic given the total shit that’s happening with Dems right now and Marshall’s impotent wailing about his own party.

    January 22, 2010 10:57 AM

    “They’re living in Disney Land,” he said, “if they think they can reform the GOP.”

    I think we know the feeling …………..

  34. Don Lake ......... His words, my thouths

    Thomas M. Sipos // Jan 25, 2010:
    “Bruce is a hypocrite ….. He tries to present himself to the world as positive and friendly. But behind the scenes, Bruce is hateful, with a gutter mouth. ——- My advice, just collect and save Bruce’s vitriol. Keep in on your hard drive, and back it up.”

    Party partisans need to know that this ‘inside’ information is floating far and wide, per the Sand Paper Trio of SoCal [Edward Tessiler, Richard Rider, and Brucie Woocie] ……….

  35. Don Lake ......... His words, my thouths

    Kevin Smith told TPMmuckraker that Judson Phillips, the Nashville defense lawyer behind the upcoming National Tea Party Convention, abruptly turned Tea Party Nation into a for-profit corporation last year, shocking fellow activists who had discussed setting up the fledgling group as a non-profit.

    “I can’t even describe to you the anger we had with him, using our volunteer labor and our passion for the movement to build his start-up,” said Smith………..

  36. Don Lake ......... His words, my thouths

    Oh, Ed Tessieler and Richard Rider and Bruce Cohen are repulsive [by their own behavior], dishonest and abusive. [I have already provided various examples …….]

    And Bruce’s loyalties of USA’s culture verses the needs of what ever temporary governance is coming out of Israel at any time ????? Viability of the news worthiness of the murderous attack on the non combatant USS Liberty and unarmed American sailors ?????? Dysfunctional Deform Party/ Reform Party style dismantling of partisan organs to protect any ole Israeli governance ???????

    I’D LIKE TO SAY, having been lied to by John Blare, John Coffey, John Bambey, and Valli Sharp Giesler, that I would like a definitive review of Cohen’s ‘Americanism’ as I have heard lots of ‘stuff’ in general and ‘Jewish Zionist’ in particular.

    I consider Jewish Zionists to be largely unpatriotic.

  37. Don Lake ......... His words, my thouths

    Cody Quirk // Feb 16, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    “If these people are Constitutionalists, then why the hell don’t they just go with the CP instead?!

    I’m hearing more and more idiots in the Country wanting to start new parties instead of helping build up the ones that already exist.”

    Has TV really dumbed us down [that much]?

    —– Yes, just look [if you dare] at BC/BS!

  38. Don Lake ......... His words, my thouths

    Bruce Cohen // Feb 16, 2010:
    “[Moral Midgets] Valli Gieslier and John Dennis Coffey were in [the former ??????] Yugoslavia at a Chess tournament with me the other day.”

    ……….. and you honestly wonder why the Sand Paper Trio is known through out SoCal as walking two legged Pricks ?????????????

  39. Bruce Cohen

    I haven’t seen Eddy or Richard in person for four years or so, if memory serves. Neither of them ever made me a cocktail, either.

    Richard is a great back seat driver and Eddy is good at keeping me quiet and on focus.

    Did you ever see Ed, Edd and Eddy on Boomerang? It’s so funny.

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