(INTHESETIMES) — How much influence has the Tea Party really had in American politics?
The movement scored real successes in the 2010 election, when the GOP won control of the House and narrowed the Democrats’ majority in the Senate. That success bolstered the GOP’s budget-cutting fervor and set up the debt-ceiling showdown last summer. And wins by Tea Party candidates at the state level have helped create the wave of abortion restrictions recently passed by state legislatures.
On the other hand, there have been major disappointments during the past year. Sarah Palin didn’t run for the GOP presidential nomination, and one Tea Party favorite after another ascended in the primary race, then crashed, until Republicans settled for perhaps the least conservative candidate in the race: Mitt Romney.
Advertisement - story continues below