|2010 marked the rise of the Tea Party [GALLO/GETTY]|
Two years after Barack Obama won the US presidential elections – on the back of promises to tackle a struggling economy and withdraw troops from Iraq – he faced a struggle in the US Midterm elections.
Obama failed to articulate his vision for the economy and on reforming the poor healthcare system in the US. This failure in communication translated into electoral victories for the Republicans, winning back seats in the Senate and taking control of the House.
The Tea Party, a broad-based and well-funded conservative political movement that reached remarkable levels of popularity, endorsed mostly Republican candidates who performed well in the poll. The de-facto symbolic head of the movement, Sarah Palin, became one of the most recognisable political figures in the country.
With the Republicans now controlling the lower house – which they last did in 2006 – they could push through conservative legislation on majority votes, including measures to shrink government and cut taxes.
However, the Democrats could still use their Senate majority to stop these bills, including an anticipated repeal of Obama’s overhaul of US health care.
The bottom line is that the election outcome cast doubts over Obama’s vision, including immigration, getting America out of her wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, health care reform and climate change policies, and has left him in a political quagmire of some sort.
But the true significance of the Tea party’s victory can be appreciated with hindsight.
When Obama swept to power after winning the 2008 presidential elections, on the back of a “disastrous” George Bush final term, the natural assumption was that from now on end, the Republic Party would suffer for a while, and would no doubt have to re-invent itself into a new – more “close to the centre” -party.
Re-invent itself it has, but if anything, the Tea Party have pulled the rabbit out of the hat. The last thing they represent is a more “close to the centre” Republican party.