By Jason Easley
A Tea Party rally that was supposed to include an appearance by Donald Trump drew only 30 people in Columbia, South Carolina.
Even though the rally still included Gov. Nikki Haley according to The State only 30 people showed up, “Trump’s decision to not enter the GOP presidential race left local Tea Party leaders stewing about the way they had been treated. But about 30 people were on hand Thursday to thank Gov. Nikki Haley, lawmakers and activists for their work to require more on-the-record Legislative votes.”
The Columbia Tea Party was expecting as many as 2,000 people to show up, but once Donald Trump bailed on them they couldn’t draw three dozen. I am sure that this is going to be the first of many, many stories about how Donald Trump screwed over the Tea Party by bailing out on them, but the truth is that the Tea Party foolishly threw their support behind a con man who never bothered, or seriously intended, to announce his candidacy.
They only have themselves to blame for getting suckered in by Trump. Without Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump, the Tea Party supporters a.k.a. socially conservative Republicans are without a candidate. The only potential members of the GOP field that excite them are Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin.
While Bachmann looks like she is likely in, Sarah Palin has to be drooling over the prospect of “rescuing” the Tea Party after it was jilted by Trump and Huckabee. Palin may not be able to draw huge crowds anymore, but she can easily draw more than 30 people on her worst day. If Palin doesn’t run, Bachmann stands to be the beneficiary of the Tea Party love.
The Tea Party AstroTurf is now suffering from the same lack of star power and enthusiasm that is hurting the rest of the Republican Party. Tea Party attendance was never worthy of the media attention they received, but expecting 2,000 attendees and getting 30 in a red state like South Carolina is an unmitigated disaster.
One bad rally does not mean the death of the fake grass roots Tea Party, but it is hard to ignore the fact that 30 people showed up for a rally that featured the governor of the state. Most of us have holiday dinners that are more well attended than this Tea Party rally was. If your family has a reunion this summer, it will probably be a bigger event than this Tea Party rally was.
Maybe instead of Nikki Haley, they should have offered cold cuts and potato salad?
See Related: Tea Party Archive