This article about Chuck Schumer’s plans to undermine the Tea Party is mostly a big yawn:
“The fundamental weakness in the Tea Party machine is the stark difference between what the leaders of the Tea Party elite, plutocrats like the Koch Brothers want and what the average grassroots Tea Party follower wants,” [Schumer] will say.
Schumer will argue Democrats must defend popular government programs, such as extended unemployment benefits and student loan subsidies, to persuade Tea Party voters they could benefit from federal programs.
“The average Tea Party member, like the average American, likes government run Medicare, likes government built highways and water and sewer lines, likes government support for education, both higher and lower,” he will say.
Yada yada yada.
First there was the “Tea Party is racist” lie. Then the IRS attack on the Tea Party. Now the “we’re your buddies and we have your best interest at heart; the Koch Brothers are not and don’t” approach from Schumer, who could promise most Tea Partiers the moon and they wouldn’t care.
This is what caught my eye from the article:
Democratic pollsters say a majority of Tea Party voters support increasing the minimum wage, which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will address later this year.
“What the senator is getting at is, they’re very populist, and they are hard-pressed economically,” Democratic pollster Celinda Lake said of Tea Party voters. “So I think there is an interesting point right now where Democrats can lay out an economic agenda that really pressures the Tea Party leaders.”
Lake said Schumer and other Democratic leaders would be hard pressed to convince Tea Party voters to embrace big government, but they could push a populist economic agenda that resonates with them.
“A majority of Tea Partiers do support raising the minimum wage. They like to stand up for the little guy,” she said.
That would certainly surprise me, although I suppose anything’s possible. But I wondered what this was based on; the article didn’t say.
What I found when I researched it was that “Tea Partiers support raising the minimum wage” is a popular new Democratic meme, seemingly without much foundation. It appears to have started a few weeks ago on—where else?—MSNBC:
…[F]ormer congressman and frequent MSNBC contributor Harold Ford stated, “Chuck Todd said the majority of Tea Party members support an increase in the minimum wage.”…
…Margaret Carlson makes the statement that there are a “majority of Tea Party Activists who are for an increase in the minimum wage.”
In the case of both statements, Ford’s and Carlson’s, no survey or formal data was referenced. Efforts to contact Ford, Carlson, and Chuck Todd for verification or validation of these claims have met with no response…
In fact, TheBlaze did find one minimum wage survey that mentions the opinions of Tea Party members. The polling, done by the Public Religion Research Institute in November of 2013, found that 57% of Tea Partiers opposed raising the minimum wage.
And here’s a Pew poll from August of 2013 that also supports the idea that Tea Partiers do not favor raising the minimum wage:
Tea Party Republicans (32% favor) are far less likely than those who do not agree with the Tea Party (60%) to support raising the minimum wage.
According to the same poll, 50% of Republicans overall favor raising the minimum wage, while 47% oppose. Who are those Republicans who favor it? The less well-educated, and those with lower incomes. Perhaps Schumer is confusing “less-well-educated” and “lower income” with “Tea Party members.”
Then again, perhaps he’s just making s*** up.