Tea Party, Its Clout Diminished, Turns to Fringe Issues

The Tea Party might not be over, but it is increasingly clear that the election last month significantly weakened the once-surging movement, which nearly captured control of the Republican Party through a potent combination of populism and fury. …

The movement is not going away — most Republicans in the House have more to fear from primary challengers on their right than from Democratic challengers. An unpopular budget deal could reignite the Tea Party, as the antitax crusader Grover Norquist predicts.

But surveys of voters leaving the polls last month showed that support for the Tea Party had dropped precipitously from 2010, when a wave of recession-fueled anger over bailouts, federal spending and the health care overhaul won the Republicans a majority in the House. [cont.]

Trip Gabriel, New York Times