(CNSNews.com) – Left-wing activist and former Obama administration official Van Jones said “watch out” because his Save the American Dream movement, along with the Occupy Wall Street protest movement, would eclipse the Tea Party in 2012.
“It was very easy when [the] Tea Party first started, to dismiss them, to laugh at them and say ‘this is just nothing, it’s some kind of joke, it’s a fad, it’s going to go away,’” Jones told reporters after the Save the American Dream rally in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.
“It would be very easy to make the same mistake again,” he continued. “But the potential here is about 10 times greater than the Tea Party because if you look at the Tea Party [it] represented about 20 percent of the American people when they started. We represent 80 percent – so, watch out.”
Jones said that this new movement – called the American Dream movement – was already “massively bigger” than the Tea Party was when it first began.
“The American Dream movement is only nine weeks old,” he said. “We are already massively bigger than the Tea Party was when it was nine weeks old.”
“Yesterday’s story was the Tea Party,” said Jones, who has described himself as a revolutionary and “a communist” in the 1990s. “Today’s story is the American Dream movement. We are what’s next, and when the tide turns – I’m from California – when the tide turns you can see it from the top [but] it turned a long time ago down at the bottom. The tide turned a long time ago at the bottom.”
The American Dream movement is a left-wing political organization run by the liberal group MoveOn.org Civic Action, in partnership with dozens of other liberal groups ranging from the Hip Hop Caucus to the Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood.
Jones led the group’s Take Back the American Dream Summit outside the U.S. Capitol building on Tuesday, drawing attention to its Contract for the American Dream Manifesto, which calls for a laundry-list of liberal policy items ranging from new and higher taxes on the wealthy to higher government spending and single-payer health care.
Jones linked his American Dream movement to the left-wing Occupy Wall Street protests in New York, saying that both efforts were part of the same grassroots movement.
“There are two incredible expressions right now – and there may be more later – of frustration and pain and hope for this country,” Jones said after the rally in speaking with reporters. “There’s the occupy movement, which we love and respect, there’s the American Dream movement – and keep your eyes open [because] there’s going to be a flowering of movements in this country to take back the American dream.”
Jones also said that the American Dream movement would model itself after the Tea Party’s success in the 2010 elections, stressing that in 2012 candidates would run under the movement’s banner.
“Zero people ran for office in 2008 as Tea Party candidates,” he said. “In 2010, many many hundreds did. Zero people in 2010 ran as American Dream candidates. In 2012, [our] 2012 candidates will run.”
“We are going to run candidates,” Jones continued. “Ralph Nader ran. People didn’t like that outcome. Ross Perot ran. People didn’t like that outcome. The Tea Party then ran people but they stayed inside a particular party, so they got the best of both possible worlds.”
“So now what we’re saying is simply this: just like you had Tea Party Republicans, Tea Party candidates who had one vision of America that ran last year, next year there will be people who have a different vision running for office,” said Jones.
Jones said his movement would not be creating a third party, but rather providing a “basis of values and principles” for liberal candidates.