It is, depending on who's doing the talking, maybe the worst thing, or the best thing, that's happened to American politics in a few decades. "It" is the Tea Party, the anti-"Big Government" movement that burst onto the scene in 2009. Of course, there is no single entity with that name, but many groups, some of which jumped into direct mail fundraising in a big way, hoping to change the political landscape.
Following the election of several "Tea Party" Republicans in the 2010 mid-terms, the Tea Party Patriots stood out in the mail with two efforts that made it clear that their role in the process, in the words of co-founder Jenny Beth Martin, "did not end on Election Day." The first mailing was a clever folded 5-3/4" x 7-3/4" self-mailer that, with its tabs opened, revealed a separate letter, a reply form, a CRE, and on one panel, a hub holding a DVD with a 7-minute video. "Tea Party" protest images are all over the other folds, and are likely to remind the prospect of the power of their movement.
But the focus of the letter and video is to "keep the 112th Congress on notice" that the changes supported by the group, like rolling back federal spending or banning earmarks and corporate bailouts, must be acted on.
The second campaign, which began in January 2011 and mailed throughout the year, has a much simpler design. It's a 9" x 12" envelope dominated only by the Gadsden "Don't Tread on Me" flag on the front. The letter is largely the same as the previous effort, but provides a more substantial focus to the efforts of the group's supporters by directing the donor's attention to the "Congressional Accountability Petition" included on the order form. The petition lists the Patriots' priorities and warns Congressmen that "we will be watching closely".