October 3rd, 2010
12:01 PM ET
12 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. cyberCMDR

    Actually, if the TEA party splits off it might return some sanity to the GOP. Put all their loonies in one separate bin, and perhaps then GOP members could focus on solving problems without being crucified for working in a bipartisan manner. The extreme voices that have taken over the conversation, so maybe they should be culled from the "heard" and put to the side.

    October 3, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  2. blah

    Well, if the moderate part of the Republican party were to somehow divorce itself from the nuttier fractions,
    I may consider voting for it. So a split may not be such a bad idea.

    October 3, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  3. COL

    Democrats and independants, please remember that no vote this November is the same thing as voting for the far right. Things may not be perfect, but not voting may send the country in this alternative, highly divisive, dangerously conservative direction.

    October 3, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  4. SmarterHuman


    Tea Party:

    "The Party of YELL"

    October 3, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  5. Rock God

    Yeah, whatever happened to the Reform Party?

    October 3, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  6. 13Directors

    A third party? That statement alone proves just how out of touch Thune is and many of you as well: There's already a third party – the Libertarians and they vote Republican when they have to.

    October 3, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. giggidygo

    Huh? I thought the Tea Party already was a "splinter group"? I thought that was the meat of the story behind the Tea Party? They're disenfranchised by the establishment and all incumbents are part of the Washington elite who are completely out of touch with Main Street America. Have I been reading about some other country's third party political movement for the last year? I'm either crazy or John Thune is quick as a three-legged turtle... Or wait! Is the Tea Party actually just completely made up of Republicans? Are they bringing absolutely nothing substantive to the table at all? Are they just spouting whacko rhetoric that doesn't even work in the minimally demanding universe of rhetorical clap trap? The cat is out of the (Tea) bag! Derp de derp...

    And Greg, I believe Lincoln was certainly turning over in his grave when McCain sold his soul in a losing big for the '08 Presidential bid. Although, knowing how much he abhorred the spilled blood of 600,000 Americans in the Civil War, he may have started turning like a rotisserie chicken back when Bush started a fake war for the sake of profiteering by a few select black-hearted individuals.

    October 3, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  8. not rich

    Finally the light comes on. Of course the Tea Party threatens to fracture the GOP. At first they ignored them, then they reluctantly embraced them and now the Tea Party is poised to take down the GOP. The GOP should call the Tea Party the Donner Party, much like those stranded pioneers who ate their own to survive.

    October 3, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  9. katiec

    Quotes from a speech made by DeMint representing the republican party.
    "Our goal is a complete gridlock for the next two years. There is no place for bi-partianship, compromise, only acceptable outcome is total victory and any politician that disagrees will be treated as a traitor. This is war."
    These are people we want leading our country?? We would not survive.

    October 3, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. SurRy

    PLEASE let the tea baggers form their own party. PLEASE!

    October 3, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  11. Randy

    The problem with the TP is that they want to abolish governmental control of everything. When that happens corporate tyrants in monopoly markets will gain complete control...and then we"ll be in real trouble. Free enterprise and capitalism work very well in a free market...But the free market doesn't exsit in basic human needs areas (healthcare and utlities being 2 easy ones ) When products and services are consumer driven the result could be a smaller profit...but when you mix profit and loss and human welfare in a monopoly market the loser can pay with their life.

    October 3, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  12. 4sanity

    "..... and we hated Bush as much as we hate Obama."

    TEA Party as Separatists and against the Republic. Mmmmm makes me think Master Yoda was right: "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."

    October 3, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  13. smtwnguy

    ThinkAgain-Right on!!!! Keep telling em the TRUTH !!

    October 3, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. Alexandre

    Tea Party as a third party? Great! Then it will siphon votes away from the Republicans and allow the Democrats a greater majority and finally get this country out of the messes Bush and his cohorts got us into. YAY Tea Party!

    October 3, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  15. Z

    Well that does it. Obama's our president until 2016. Victory is sweet.

    October 3, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  16. Bob

    It would be good if Tea party forms another significant party. Not that I want Dems to win but I think a political system is healthier if it's not dominated by the two-party monopoly. A two-party system is only one party away from authoritarian. There is so much corruption in both parties that they are no longer working for the people of this country. Look at Obama, he's re-enforcing everything Bush did with minor tweaks. I hope that other fractions of Dems will split too.

    October 3, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  17. xsited1

    Americans seem to be programmed to vote for a major party candidate. Why is that?

    October 3, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  18. Annie, Atlanta

    I don't see them standing on their own, at least for now. They're too fractured and splintered. They're angry, but misdirect that anger. There's some bigotry involved. There is rampant ignorance, based on lies spewed by the likes of Limbaugh, who makes $48 Million a year keeping people angry with said lies. And their candidates are a disgrace. I'm just not seeing a viable third party made up of a bunch of angry misinformed old white people. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough.

    However, we should all be angry. The corporations are buying up our elected officials, one by one. The GOP is nearly all wholly owned subsidiaries. It's not because of the black guy in the White House. It's not because of "Obamacare." It has to do with all the lies and nonsense sprewed by the Republican Noise Machine, wholly owned by said corporations, that we're in such major difficulties. That's because of blatant corporate greed. And these guys own our media, tv and radio alike. If we don't come together and fix this, we're in trouble.

    October 3, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  19. Steve851

    Thune is dead right, but he doesn't go far enough. This is the last chance for the GOP to get its act together. We are sick and tired of the monopoly of two parties who are dedicated to paying off their respective special interests without any regard for the financial future of the country and its people

    October 3, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  20. sajjad nasir

    I am going to agree with endthefed, as a liberal I think the real true tea party is an libertarian nonintervenist party the was supported by ron paul supporters who are against the neocon ultra right wing agenda of sarah palin, newt gingrich and the conservatives who like war

    October 3, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  21. miguel

    The Republican Party has mislead these people by allowing them to believe that by voting GOP they will get to see their far-right fundamentalist christian fascist utopia come into fruition, and as a result they may be headed to confront the 2nd coming of a Ross Perot type of 3rd party by 2012. I say this because the GOP will not be able to deliver what these angry tea party people want, the GOP is promising the moon to these conservatives. Personally,I don't think that the GOP will become the majority in the House, but if they do they will be a huge disappointment to these teaparty people. The GOP will not be able to make any changes to Obama's healthcare reform, they will not be able to change financial regulation, they won't be able to change Obama's education and energy initiatives that have already been put in place and they won't be able to make Bush's taxcuts for the top 2% permanent (a 2 year extension at best and they will have to compromise on some other issue that will make right-wingers go bunkers), a GOP controlled House won't be able to deport undocumented aliens as many teapartiers expect, Social Security won't be privarized and Obama's popularity may bounce back as a result of a shared responsibility of governing with the GOP. The TeaParty conservatives feel no loyalty towards the GOP and as punishment they could do natioanlly what they are doing locally in the Colorado governor's race, where they are supporting renegate teapartier Tom Tancredo knowing that by doing so the Republican candidate will lose to Democratic candidate Hickenlooper.

    October 3, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  22. Jack

    why would anyone listen to this liberal garbage. And as far the people that call tea party folks tea baggers they are ignorant and need a lesson in civility. As a independent I cant vote again for Obama or the democrats(socialists) they fooled me once but no more.

    October 3, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  23. Alex

    Its called sleeping in the bed that you've made. The Tea Party, while having an honest grass-roots style, didn't have mainstream support and needed both numbers and a visible face. They got it by including social conservatives that are stuck the past and delegitimized the entire movement by driving all the moderates away.

    October 3, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  24. hzj

    Why do The Presidents change but the policies do not?

    October 3, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  25. Leonore H. Dvorkin

    Yay! This is the Democrats' dream. We love watching these loons destroy the Republican party. Go, Dems! Obama in '12!
    Leonore H. Dvorkin, Denver, CO

    October 3, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
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