The Tea Party is an American populist political movement, which is generally recognized as conservative and libertarian, and has sponsored protests and supported political candidates since 2009. It endorses reduced government spending, opposition to taxation in varying degrees, reduction of the national debt and federal budget deficit, and adherence to an originalist interpretation of the United States Constitution.
The name "Tea Party" is a reference to the Boston Tea Party, a protest by colonists who objected to a British tax on tea in 1773 and demonstrated by dumping British tea taken from docked ships into the harbor. Some commentators have referred to the Tea in "Tea Party" as the bacronym "Taxed Enough Already".
The Tea Party movement has caucuses in the House of Representatives and the Senate of the United States. The Tea Party movement has no central leadership but is composed of a loose affiliation of national and local groups that determine their own platforms and agendas. The Tea Party movement has been cited as an example of grassroots political activity, although it has also been cited as an example of astroturfing.
The Tea Party's most noted national figures include Republican politicians such as Sarah Palin and Dick Armey. As of 2010, the Tea Party movement is not a national political party, but has endorsed Republican candidates. A Gallup poll shows almost 80% of Tea Partiers consider themselves to be Republicans. Commentators, including Gallup Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport, have suggested that the movement is not a new political group but simply a rebranding of traditional Republican candidates and policies. An October 2010 Washington Post canvass of local Tea Party organizers found 87% saying "dissatisfaction with mainstream Republican Party leaders" was "an important factor in the support the group has received so far".