There always have been tensions between the GOP leadership and "grass-roots conservatives," but the party has to find a way to rebuild a frayed relationship – and stop treating today's tea-party groups with contempt, conservative activist Cleta Mitchell said Friday.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV at the Restoration Weekend gathering in Palm Beach, Fla., Mitchell said the grass-roots "foot soldiers" have always been the party's strength.
"They're not a bother," the Washington, D.C., lawyer said. "They're our strength. And I think about how could we find a way to rebuild some semblance of a relationship between … the Republican leadership, and the grass-roots conservatives."
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Mitchell said the GOP is a party with a true "big tent."
"Unlike the Democrats, where you have a situation on the left where the grass-roots activists and those who are the big donors — the big trial lawyers, the gay activists, the feminists, the big money, and the environmentalist, the unions — there's no daylight between their grass roots and their big money," she said. "They all are the same left wing."
"When you come to the Republican Party, the grass roots in the Republican Party tend to be more conservative and the big donors, many times … have tended to be more moderate — you have the country-club set and the grass-roots foot soldiers and there's always been a tension there."
Mitchell said the party now needs "to find a way for our leaders in Washington to not be so contemptuous of the grass roots because that's our strength."
The lawyer said the GOP's prospects for the midterm elections and 2016 depend on maintaining the support of the grass-roots faction.
"It's important for Republicans in Washington to understand they're never going to win, they're never going to be in the majority in the Senate, and they're not going to hold the House if those grass-roots activists stay home and they don't turn out their base," she said.
"The Republicans are in the majority in the House today because of the tea party and they need to remember that. That's the strength. That's not a negative, that's a positive."
She credited tea-party activists for having brought "so many people out of the woodwork in 2010 to fight the very thing that we're now seeing … this Obamacare debacle …"
And, Mitchell said, the Obama administration "knew exactly what they were doing" with Obamacare.
"They intended to blow up the private health insurance market and that would make everybody then have to turn to the government, which is what they want, basically, on everything," she said.
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