It was ten years ago that the Tea Party movement sprang to life, the first true uprising of grassroots conservatism in the nation's history. Throughout the next few years, Tea Party rallies became commonplace at parks, halls and public events across the country. Local and national Tea Party chapters formed, and candidates for office rode the movement to fame and success.
So where is the Tea Party now? While Tea Party organizations still exist, and some remain active in conservative causes, the movement as it was originally known is no more. "As with all movements, it has kind of come to an end," says Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation. "Political movements all have a shelf life...they come in to do a certain thing, and one way or another after a few years they wind down, and the people who are involved in them move on to other things."
In the case of the Tea Party, many of those originally involved as activists are now in public office or working at the federal, state or local level. "A lot of the people who were in the Tea Party in 2009 and 2010 got swept into the Trump movement in 2016," says Phillips.
Indeed, other former Tea Party leaders have echoed Phillips' sentiment that the movement has moved on, so to speak, and largely morphed into what is now the Trump movement.
To that end, Phillips believes the Tea Party was instrumental in expanding conservatism in the Republican Party and the nation, ultimately leading to the Trump era. "If you look at what has happened between 2009 and present day, the Tea Party helped Republicans get the House of Representatives (in 2010), then the Senate (in 2014) and ultimately the White House (in 2016)," he says.