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One thousand agenda ideas that had been submitted were narrowed down to twenty-one non-social issues.Participants then voted in an online campaign in which they were asked to select their favorite policy planks. Historian and writer Walter Russell Mead analyzes the foreign policy views of the Tea Party movement in a 2011 essay published in Foreign Affairs.National Tea Party organizations, such as the Tea Party Patriots and Freedom Works, have expressed concern that engaging in social issues would be divisive.Still, many groups like Glenn Beck's 9/12 Tea Parties, Tea Party.org, the Iowa Tea Party and Delaware Patriot Organizations do act on social issues such as abortion, gun control, prayer in schools, and illegal immigration.Examples are various Tea Party demonstrators sometimes coming out in favor of U. Mead identifies two main trends, one personified by former Texas Congressman Ron Paul and the other by former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin."Paulites" have a Jeffersonian approach that seeks to avoid foreign military involvement.

In the aftermath of the 2012 American elections, some Tea Party activists have taken up more traditionally populist ideological viewpoints on issues that are distinct from general conservative views. When necessary, they favor 'total war' and unconditional surrender over "limited wars for limited goals".

The decentralized character of the Tea Party, with its lack of formal structure or hierarchy, allows each autonomous group to set its own priorities and goals.

Goals may conflict, and priorities will often differ between groups.

Some Tea Party-affiliated Republicans, such as Michele Bachmann, Jeff Duncan, Connie Mack IV, Jeff Flake, Tim Scott, Joe Walsh, Allen West, and Jason Chaffetz, voted for progressive Congressman Dennis Kucinich's resolution to withdraw U. The Tea Party movement has both been cited as an example of grassroots political activity and has also been described as an example of corporate-funded activity made to appear as spontaneous community action, a practice known as "astroturfing." 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".

An article in Politico reported that many Tea Party activists were skeptical of the caucus, seeing it as an effort by the Republican Party to hijack the movement.

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