The Tea Party movement is only partly a grassroots phenomenon. It was nurtured and financed by the likes of the Koch brothers and Fox News. But it can't be denied that it does express some populist outrage at government corruption. See That Tea Party-Occupy Wall Street Venn Diagram for an excellent, short depiction of the differences and similarities between the two movements.
Republicans were able to absorb, co-opt, and be transformed by the Tea Party movement. But it seems that many people in the Occupy Movement don't trust the Democratic Party and are suspicious of its support. In
Ismael Hossein-zadeh writes "In light of their unsavory record of undermining the revolutionary energy of social movements, projections of sympathy for the anti-Wall Street protesters by the White House, the Democratic Party officials and union leaders can be viewed only with suspicion. "
This seems extreme to me. I commented that some unions are quite progressive. Labor is a natural ally. And while many Democrats are corrupted "centrists", there are plenty of progressive Democrats as well. If Hossein-zadeh demands 100% ideological purity, he'll be powerless.
But Glenn Greenwald expresses similar notions about the inability of the Democratic Party to be transformed from the Left. In Can OWS be turned into a Democratic Party movement? Greenwald convincingly shows that President Obama has been a great friend of Wall Street. He's surrounded himself with senior Wall Street Executives, accepted huge donations from them, supported their bailouts, and voted to protect their profits. Moreover, "Obama recently opined -- even while there are supposedly ongoing DOJ investigations -- that Wall Street's corruption was, in general, not illegal." So it will be difficult for Obama to benefit from the anti-Wall Street populism.
Apparently the aim of the protesters is to force a crisis. It sure seems that the existing political structures are too broken to fix.
Why is it that angry Republicans take over the GOP, while angry
progressives flee and fight the Democratic Party? Why was Obama so
centrist? Is the party too corrupt and immoveable? Or are the
progressives too impractical? Won't it be easier for progressives to take over the Democratic Party than to start a viable third party?
As my friend Chad Lupkes has said, too bad progressives don't "Occupy the Democratic Party"!