Much has been written and said about the so-called GOP civil war between the tea party and Republican Party regulars. The media and the Democrats are salivating over the prospect of a permanent war between the tea party and the GOP. As an active member of both the tea party and the GOP, I submit that we cannot let this happen. Both of these political entities need each other to survive and thrive.
The GOP needs the energy, innovation and dedication to first principles of the tea party. And the tea party needs the infrastructure, resources, institutional knowledge and name identification of the GOP. Sure, many tea party folks are independents, and many independents fall outside the GOP. That’s okay. Many independents also identify with the GOP. This healthy mix of different people and ideas is normal within our two party system. And these folks who share a common belief in limited government, fiscal responsibility and free markets have more in common than that which divides them.
Now, admittedly it is fair to say that the tea party would not exist but for the fact that the GOP strayed from its principles. But it’s also fair to say that the tea party would not have made such a huge impact in the 2010 elections were it not for the infrastructure and resources of the GOP. The tea party is there to remind the GOP of its principles, and the GOP is there to remind the tea party that only candidates from one of the two major parties actually wins elections.
Brendan Steinhauser is a national political strategist focused on campaigns, media, and public policy.