Monday, July 5, 2010

Tea Party 1 Year In

"On July 3rd, 2010, we held a Tea Party in Cole Park in Alamosa, CO. There were about 80 people there to enjoy the beautiful weather and a couple of truly inspirational speeches by local citizens and candidates. This marks the one year anniversary of the Tea Party movement in Alamosa and the San Luis Valley"

A year after its raucous inception, this is it? 80 people? 

I hear a lot about the "enthusiasm gap" between Republicans and Democrats.  The thinking seems to be the GOP's  numerical disadvantage will be overcome by a high voter turnout rate. Since midterms attract even fewer voters than quadrennial elections there is a possibility that the Tea Party energy may translate into more voter participation. 

But I wonder how that would play out. 

Take our Alamosa TP event. On the major political holiday an estimated 80 folks showed up. Assume better-than-average voter turnout in November, say 50%, which means 40 of these folks will actually cast a ballot. Will that translate into electoral victory? By any measure, the Tea Party types are a minority inside Republican ranks, ranks that account for less than one third of registered voters. The expectation that TP enthusiasm will somehow balance their numerical disadvantage seems unrealistic. Being excited about your vote is great, but it's still just one vote. There's not an enthusiasm dividend. 

Colorado Primaries are in a month, the general election in four. There's lots of time for event to unfold and minds to be influenced. Increasing voter participation may tip some balances, but it seems unlikely that the faux angry "I Am the Mob" faction will be a major factor. 

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