Trump Takes Over the Tea Party

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Story From Vice:

When the tea party movement came to prominence in the summer of 2009, adherents proclaimed they were guided by conservative principles forgotten in the big-spending years of George W. Bush. Republicans who didn’t adhere to their strict ideological interpretation of the Constitution were labeled RINOs (Republicans in name only). The tea partiers’ stubborn demands and obstructionism so exasperated President Obama in 2011 that he snapped, “Can they say yes to anything?”

In 2016 after a divisive GOP primary, the tea party vote has unified behindnominee Donald Trump, even though he in many ways defies the ideological purity that once defined the movement. But Trump and his big-government populism isn’t just winning their votes; he’s also winning their donations, a sign that the money behind the movement will remain a force in American politics long after Election Day.

A new analysis provided exclusively to VICE News confirms that since Trump began soliciting donations in May, tea party donors have been propelling his campaign. According to Crowdpac, a nonpartisan political crowdfunding startup, more than 6,400 of Trump’s financial backers previously gave to one of the six main tea party PACs since 2009, more than any other candidate in the race including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a favorite of the movement.

Since Trump was initially self-funding his campaign, he did not start raising money until nearly a year after declaring his candidacy. Despite the late start, Trump has raised more money overall from more tea party donors than any other candidate. Over 20 percent of donors to the tea party PACs have given to Trump, pouring $8.3 million into his campaign through the end of September, besting his 2016 rivals.

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