Last September, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin answered critics who predicted that the movement would soon peter out: “The Tea Party movement is here to stay.” Seven months later, presidential candidate Herman Cain — a Tea Party favorite — echoed the same sentiment: “I have people asking me all the time. Do you think this Tea-Party ‘thing’ is going to go away? […] No, it’s not going away. It’s gonna get stronger and stronger.”
A ThinkProgress investigation, however, shows a far different picture. Indeed, empirical evidence points to one conclusion: Tea Party activity has declined sharply thus far in 2011.
For this report, ThinkProgress examined the total number of events across the country listed on the Tea Party Patriots (TPP) and Americans for Prosperity (AFP) websites each month. We then compared the number of Tea Parties that occurred in 2010 with the number that took place in the first seven months of 2011.
The results were startling. For TPP, fewer than half the number of Tea Party events took place in the first seven months of 2011 compared to the same time period in 2010. Furthermore, while an average of 337 Tea Parties were held across the country each month of 2010, this year that number has dropped to just 166 events per month and continues to decline.
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