October 3rd, 2010
12:01 PM ET
4 years ago

Thune: Tea Party could form splinter group by 2012

(CNN) – If Republicans neglect the concerns of Tea Party activists, the group could break off to form a third party as early as 2012, warned Republican Senator John Thune.

Thune, who is considering a presidential run, said if Republicans manage to take back the Congress next month, they will have to work quickly to deliver results to voters.

"If we do not govern according to our principles and if we don't follow through on the things that we say we're going to do, I think the Tea Party–I think there will be a third party in this country," Thune said on C-SPAN Newsmakers.


He applauded Tea Party candidates running for office this year as energetic and driven and said their concerns coincide "with what many of us who are there want to see done."

But the chairman of the Republican Policy Committee said the Senate would be very different considering "many of the candidates that are running on both sides this year are people who maybe don't have long resumes or experience in politics or government ... but are very motivated."

"We're going to have a lot of new people. And a lot of the people who got to the Senate in many cases ran campaigns that were about a very–a very distinct agenda," Thune said. "There are going to be a lot of new faces and probably some pretty strongly-held views. And we'll see how that works."

He tamped down expectations for a Republican wave election in November, saying Democrats are fighting hard.

"I do think that you can get expectations really high, and I hope that those expectations can be met," he said. "I think it's a longer shot in the Senate."

Thune hinted he would decide about a presidential run by early 2011 and said the results of the midterm elections could affect the political landscape for his party.


Filed under: 2010 • John Thune • Tea Party movement
soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. Jen

    Those teabagger idiots will form a 3rd party and try to elect Dumb-o Palin as their leader, or someone else that's totally unelectable in a general election (like how Christine O'Donnell practically handed DE to Democrats on a silver platter). All the tea party has done is shoot themselves in the foot.

    October 3, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  2. stevetall

    Really? Does this guy have any experience? Does he read history? A third party has never flourished in America, and the Tea Party pinheads will certainly not be the first. Quit sucking up to these fringe loonies, Mr. Thune. It makes you seem not-smart.

    October 3, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  3. Greg Hodges

    Just one more example of how the tail is now wagging the G.O.P. dog. The Taliban (oops TEA PARTY) are threatening to splinter into a brand new third party? Seems to me like they already have left that reservation some time ago. The only real question left is just how far is the Republican mainstream prepared to go in embracing this fanatically right wing movement to attain power at all costs. Abe Lincoln must be rolling over in his grave!

    October 3, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  4. katiec

    Principles! What principles? The selling out the American people in favor of Wall St, big business, the rich?
    Voting against, trying to destroy everything to help us and our country, all for their goals of regaining power and winning this next election?
    Plans on privatizing SS, repeal all regulations that brought some control, benefits for the American people?
    Could go on and on but any intelligent voter realizes what they have done, are doing and plan to do to us in the future.
    They do not represent or care about us and cannot be allowed to regain power.

    October 3, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  5. vic, Nashville TN

    Tea Party Divide the republican in 2010 what he is thinking

    I quit republican because of tea party

    Real conservative republicans did the followings
    1) took care of hard working middle class and poor
    2) took care of minorities
    3) understand and took care immigrants
    4) respects family values but don’t criticizes others
    Now real conservatives step side fake conservatives like James O'Keefe, Karl Rove in the party who cares if divide again

    October 3, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  6. malabar

    Aftr years of dems patronizing minorities to death and repubs excluding people based on their sexual orientation, it wud b awesome to have a viable third alternative. can u imagine a dem or repub working 4 more than just applause and bribe money? btw, nice of cnn to ignore the mess the enviromentalists left at the national mall. go green indeed.

    October 3, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  7. Jessy

    Then let there be a third party. The two-party system is pathetic already.

    October 3, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  8. works for me

    A third party ... perhaps. The Tea Party... ahhh negative!

    October 3, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  9. S.positive

    Oh well it was coming to the republicans...

    October 3, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. ThinkAgain

    I hope the teabaggers do form a splinter party – because the best thing that could happen to our country is to have both them and the GOP permanently out of power for a very long time.

    Why? Because FDR and the New Deal ushered in 40 years of economic prosperity, with a robust middle class and social advancement. Democrats were in power when we won World War II, put a man on the moon, guaranteed voting rights for all Americans, and reasonably regulated industry to ensure we had air we could breathe and water we could drink.

    And what do you know? The rich still had plenty of cash – at least those that knew how to actually run companies, invest in research and development, and grow their businesses without resorting to accounting tricks and outright deception.

    Come November, vote Democratic and ensure our country's future!

    October 3, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  11. Fed Up

    There should be a 4th party. That would be made up of the people with common sense, instead of those who are money hungry, greedy, cheating liars.

    October 3, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  12. Klaxon McFlinderginder

    The Tea Party is following the Ralph Nader plan for certain failure: split from an existing party, run candidates too extreme for the general populace, lose the election to the other side, fade into obscurity with less and less vote in successive elections.

    2012 is as far as the Tea Party will effectively survive, and if they split too much of the vote this election, they will be has-beens by December. They think they are riding high, but they are riding their hearse.

    Third parties never survive in America unless the previous party is in total failure, and the new is presenting a new approach that is acceptable to a very large segment of the voters. In this scenario, the old party vanishes. Sorry, but there is no way the Tea Party will do that – they are too extremist and outright crazy. America has never been strongly supportive of radical extremists. The Tea Party has no hope for long-term success. They will soon join the Pirate Party of the United States and the United States Marijuana Party in total obscurity.

    But hey, insane people need a political party too.

    The Tea Party is following a well-known path to failure. And good riddance.

    October 3, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  13. Rick

    And why not, they've already split from their senses...

    October 3, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  14. EndTheFed

    The TEA (Taxed Enough Already) party was never part of the GOP. We can thank the useless idiots that watch television and listen to Rush Limbaugh who thought that because we were against Obama, we were part of the GOP. The TEA party was started by 9/11 truthers and we hated Bush as much as we hate Obama. They are puppets of the New World Order.

    October 3, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  15. Dave

    Here's some simple math for our simple conservative friends who loooooooove their Tea Party:

    Right now there's a more-liberal party (Democrats) and a more-conservative party (Republicans). They're pretty evenly matched as far as number of voters goes and have to fight hard to win. Sometimes one wins, sometimes the other.

    Now, if there's still one party getting all the more liberal votes, and two conservative parties who have to split the same number of votes... the conservatives never win again!

    And, given the easily-provable fact that Conservatives can't govern (look at the results the red states have gotten for electing conservatives for decades – they're behind the rest of the country in every way: the most poverty, the highest infant mortality, highest unemployment, worst health care, worst roads, most dependent on federal handouts, etc.)... having them out of power is great for America!

    So, keep up the Tea Party stuff, yeah buddy, that's some good stuff! Whoo-hoo! :D

    October 3, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  16. Rosa, b'ham al

    That would be good The more the merrier.

    October 3, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  17. rkm63

    Senator Thune is absolutely right. If the republicans (especially those in the senate ) do not stop governing like democrats that's exactly what is going to happen. They have 2 more years to prove themselves and you can best bet we'll be watching each and every move.

    October 3, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  18. Dave

    I'm a fan of this. Let them split the Conservative vote... Whichever side splits the vote, the other side always wins.

    October 3, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  19. stop-confusion

    We have 5-6 parties here in Switzerland. My guess is there'll be a split between Progressive Democrats and Conservative. Makes sense.Politics is not binary.

    October 3, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  20. German,IrishAmerican

    Just listen to the fear and hate that the "tolerant, caring" liberals on this site spew. They spew hate, bigotry, and racism, and then call anyone who doesn't agree with their intolerant views names. The liberals cannot handle the fact that their boy Obama has been wrong on just about every major issue since arriving on the national scene. On the surge Obama wrong, Palin right. On the stimulus keeping unemployment below 8%, Obama wrong, Palin right. On the health care bill not driving costs up, Obama wrong, Palin right. On the oil spill, Obama seven weeks of deer in the headlights reaction, Palin one day to come up with steps to take.
    These are just a few of the reasons the MSM and the hate filled progressives feel the need to bash Palin, because when you point out the facts, Palin's viewpoints on the policies have been right on the mark, while Obama talks a good talk, but has not a clue on governing.

    October 3, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  21. Bert in UT

    Fed Up: You have it just right. The 3rd (or 4th) party we need is one in the middle trying to actually fix things instead of just demonizing the other side and making people angry in an attempt to get elected.

    October 3, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Good. I hope they split. Then maybe the Republican party will become sane again. The Tea Party, while growing, isn't as large as either the Republican or Democratic Party so they'll hardly influence the vote and become one of the many minor parties in this country. Republican party your best bet is to let these whackos go. Get rid of them while you still can.

    October 3, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  23. Dan in FL

    Great, another political party that is more extreme than the two we already have. Holding open primaries and enforcing term limits will result in a more centrist and honest government that serves mainstream America.

    October 3, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  24. TK

    Its funny when you got Gallup.com and look at the charts -
    since march '09 to present:

    job creation index: -7 to 8, highest point 11
    economic confidence: -60 to -30, highest point -17
    underemployment: 20% to currently the lowest point yet at 18%

    Obama approval: 62% to 46%

    Some people just don't get it.

    October 3, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  25. anthony

    I hate to break this to Republicans/Teabaggers. The results are not coming. Democrats could not do anything after they took over Congress in 2007 because Bush had the veto. They could not even force Bush to withdraw from Iraq, and essentially were forced to fund the surge. Otherwise they would have left the troops stranded in Iraq. All right-wing bloggers who claim that the economy went south when Democrats took over Congress in 2007 are missing the fact that Congress cannot do much without the president. The president can veto budgets. Democrats did not go on a spending binge while Bush was president. They could not do so even if they had wanted to. Republicans will find out that they will not be able to deliver tax cuts to the richest 2% of Americans, even if they take over the House next year.

    October 3, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
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