I think it is true that the squeaky wheel always gets the grease. And, I believe that protests and other newsworthy events and rallies do sway lawmakers. I am not sure that a lawmaker would admit to "listening" to these fringe elements, but how could they help but be influenced by what is going on in the world?
Lawmakers are primarily controlled by their corporate masters. But, protesters, such as the Tea Party, do tend to sway lawmakers, by virtue of their size and the amount of their media coverage. Most lawmakers would be considered idiotic to ignore a large voting block that yells loud enough to be heard.
Political movements such as the Tea Party Express do have an impact on lawmakers. Politicians are very aware that their political survival depends on winning the next election. The easiest way to do that is to have a large group of supporters and donations. Groups such as the Tea Party Express can provide that support. Therefore, a sitting politician is very likely to take into consideration a political protest movement like the Tea Party Express.
Lawmakers have recently begun more to resemble weather vanes, rather than statesmen. They indicate which way the wind is blowing. Their primary consideration has become how to get re-elected. The long-term, or even the short-term, effects of legislation have been been obscured. As human "weather vanes", legislators are swayed by protests, rallies, how many jokes are told on late night TV and Saturday Night Live, as well as by YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and any other venue in which the public can express even the silliest and most unsubstantiated beliefs. The Constitution guarantees us the right to free speech, but it does not require that speech to reflect intelligent thought. Yes, of course legislators are swayed by these things. In the short term, these events and words reflect an impressive level of ignorance, lack of information, and abundance of misinformation. Let us contemplate how these trends will impact our country. If we elect legislators based on their willingness to bow down to the pollsters, they will presumably be bad legislators. They will pass bad legislation. I have confidence that Americans will realize that that they are electing fools, and will begin, eventually, to elect good legislators. But then, I have always been an optimist.
Lawmakers and politicians are elected by the general public, thus a great deal of their time goes into making sure the public receives some form of acknowledgment. Public protests draw attention from those in the public eye, and they would be naive to not make some attempt to appease the public.
Tea Party Express protests, as well as similar politically-motivated demonstrations, are an effective way to demonstrate to lawmakers the will of the people. When large numbers of people come out to express their desires on a given topic, lawmakers see that a large block of voters have a strong opinion on this topic, and may alter their decision making in response. Because lawmakers are put in office by voters, seeing that voters are unhappy with a certain course of action may force these lawmakers to reconsider their approach, in order to improve chances of re-election.
Politicians pay close attention to polls, protests and what issues are important to the general populace. They are aware that voters can vote them out of office if they do not show obvious attention and take efforts to address their expressed concerns. If the grass roots movements are gaining in popularity lawmakers need take notice or they risk being replaced in the next election.
The Tea Party movement is one of the most recognizable political movements in the past decade. For better or worse they have garnered significant press coverage and therefore reach a very large audience. Their are very vocal, very powerful, and highly organized. These factors, I believe, make them a significant force in the political landscape. Because of this, lawmakers (especially those in the Republican Party) have no choice but to adapt their legislation.
I believe that the court is providing a judgment without affecting lawyer or public people. This is clearly seen in the case of a girl who is raped in Delhi, but the court gave a correct judgment.
Lawmakers are out of a job if they aren't elected by popular vote. This means their views are often as main stream as possible, as inoffensive as possible, in order to appeal to the broadest majority. If they sense that a tea party position is gaining popularity and acceptance, it behooves them to incorporate that position into their platform.
Members of the Tea Party have a right to protest, just as anyone else. However, as their requests are so strong, they really should learn how to compromise and not simply complain. Their actions stall laws and anger lawmakers and citizens. They have an "all talk and no action" quality that simply does not work.
I believe the Tea Party Express events do not sway lawmakers. These events are big and seem important, sure. But, in truth, the members of the Tea Party Express do not even seem to understand what they stand for, or what the Tea Party was in the Revolutionary War days. They protest taxation, but the original Tea Party was about taxation on goods like tea, sugar and other basic household items, from a country that had little to do with America. Our country is currently in recession and in vast amounts of debt, coupled with some of the lowest taxes we have had in years, thanks to the Bush era tax cuts and their recent extension. Why protest taxation, when we really are not being taxed at all?
The Tea Party Express protests and similar events do not sway lawmakers because the lawmakers know what is good for us even when we don't agree with them. The lawmakers have their own agenda and listen to no one. The one message that they can clearly understand is the message sent in November.
Lawmakers are educated professional individuals who are capable of weighing the arguments on both sides. They have to take into account an overview of the situation and not just one small segment, so that the final judgment is for the benefit of the majority of citizens, and not one narrow group of individuals.
Signs can be seen at Tea Party protests calling the President a "communist" or a "socialist," in addition to inflammatory racist accusations. Associating oneself with this kind of over-the-top name calling is not acceptable for actual politicians.