California would be one of the last places expected to be the site of a major Tea Party rally; yet such a rally took place in Sacramento over the weekend. The Sacramento rally was one of several across the country that also included others in St. Louis and Washington DC.
The Tea Party’s ability to make a noticeable presence in Sacramento says something about the movement’s ability to resonate with voters. It will be intriguing to see how much the Tea Party can chip away from the Democratic vote in California come the 2010 midterm elections. After all, the Tea Party’s message overall has been able to attract
some Independents and and even a small number of disillusioned Democrats. California’s budget crisis might also heavily factor into this "tea’d off" electorate.
Some of the preliminary impact can already be seen. Carly Fiorina, the candidate whom Tea Party icon Sarah Palin endorsed, is polling in a dead heat with incumbent Senator Barbara Boxer. With one of the Tea Party’s goals being to clean up Congress, capturing a senate seat away from a career politician like Barbara Boxer would demonstrate that the Tea Party’s sentiments are spilling across party lines and can very much break the Democratic establishment's stronghold in California.
One of the groups at the wheel of generating momentum for the Tea Party in California is the Northern California chapter of the Tea Party Patriots. The Tea Party Patriots alone has several chapters throughout the country. An interesting aspect about this particular NorCal group is found in their mission statement, which claims that they are the only group in the national Tea Party movement that’s not a Political Action Committee (PAC). As a non-partisan group not taking monetary contributions from either official Republican nor Democratic outlets, this factor also may prove instrumental in drawing Independents to their side and ushering in a whole new class of candidates come November.
Meanwhile, while the Tea Party movement seems to continue gaining strength, alternatives to the Tea Party movement seem to be quite weak. For instance, while the Coffee Party may have skyrocketed to nearly 300,000 members on their
Facebook group, they have yet to hold a rally as big as the recent 9/12 events or even as large as the Glenn
Beck “Restoring Honor” rally held in D.C. just a few weeks ago.
However, the Coffee Party will have their chance to prove their strength when they host their first major convention from September 24-26. Furthermore, the Left as a whole will have another chance to show the power of their
grassroots movement when they host a DC rally of their own on October 2 of this year.