A decade ago, Mark Meckler was leading one of the nation’s first major Tea Party rallies outside the Capitol in Sacramento. He’s not living here anymore — he left for Texas because of the “hostility” he felt as a conservative in California — but sees similarities in a “Reopen California” rally set for Friday near the seat of state government. “It’s almost identical,” Meckler told The Chronicle’s “It’s All Political” podcast. “And that’s why I ended up getting involved.” Meckler, who now lives outside Austin, Texas, has been coordinating many of the nationwide protests scheduled for Friday through his organization, Convention of States. Much like the Tea Party, the fledgling “Open the States” movement is a stew of those who are economically hurt by government shelter-at-home orders and wealthier, politically connected conservatives helping to fuel the protests behind the scenes. Rallies in Michigan last month were sponsored by the Michigan Freedom Fund, which has received more than $500,000 over the years from the wealthy family of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. “It is very reminiscent of the early days of the Tea Party,” said Lawrence Rosenthal, chair of the Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies at UC Berkeley. “There’s a contrast… Read full this story
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