Who says the Tea Party’s dead?
I am experiencing de ja vu all over again with the latest “Tea Party is dead” discussion.
The numerous political class “debates” on Wednesday focused on the result of Tuesday’s elections in several states, as reported in the following Politico article:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell defeated his GOP challenger in Kentucky by 25 percentage points, a high-profile but low-suspense race on a critical primary day when voters cast ballots in six states. In Georgia, a Senate Republican primary headed to a runoff with the two candidates favored by GOP establishment leaders. And in Oregon, pediatric neurosurgeon Monica Wehby fended off a more conservative challenger in her Republican primary.
…After a year of threats from conservative outside groups, no GOP incumbents lost Tuesday. Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson beat back a tea partier supported by groups such as Club for Growth, with help from the business lobby and Mitt Romney. National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden, targeted in Oregon by a national campaign called Primary My Congressman, received triple the support of his opponent with more than half the votes in. And House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster prevailed over his challenger in Pennsylvania by 18 points.Republican leaders have maneuvered to nominate candidates who they hope can avoid the kinds of foot-in-mouth mistakes that cost them winnable races last cycle in red states like Missouri and Indiana.
How quickly the Beltway opiners forget a couple of recent wins (hat-tip, Instapundit)!
Former Maryland GOP Chairman Alex Mooney has won the Republican primary for West Virginia’s second congressional district, according to the Associated Press, beating pharmacist Ken Reed and former U.S. International Trade Commissioner and state legislator Charlotte Lane.
…Tea party groups quickly congratulated Mooney. The Senate Conservatives Fund, a group that works to elect conservative candidates, even trying to oust incumbents in several races, put in $95,000 supporting Mooney.
“Alex Mooney started out as the underdog, but won this race because he ran on conservative principles,” SCF Executive Director Matt Hoskins said in a statement.
And this chestnut: Tea-party-backed Ben Sasse wins Nebraska primary for U.S. Senate:
Republican Ben Sasse comfortably won his party’s nomination for U.S. Senate in Nebraska Tuesday, handing the national tea party groups that backed him a much-needed victory headed into the heart of a congressional primary season offering few opportunities for success.
The Daily Beast contributor Michael Tomasky (also the editor of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas) projected the losses, but indicated that the results of this election night were a mere “flesh wound”.
Why? Because while 2014 is, to be sure, going to go down as a bad Tea Party year in electoral terms, we certainly can’t yet say the same of 2016—a much more important year, i.e. presidential. In fact, as of today, what we can say about 2016, speculative as it may be, is that the tea party is if anything in the driver’s seat. The guy we’ve all taken to calling the GOP front-runner, Rand Paul, is a Tea Party guy. That simple fact alone hardly makes for anything I’d call dead.
Frankly, I view this week’s discussion as merely another episode in a favorite media series: “Tea Party vs Establishment.” It has all the backstabbing and intrigue of HBO’s popular “Game of Thrones”, minus the dragons (though there is a ton of hot air). This Politicalarticles Youtube video summarizes the night’s result and has an interview with former RNC-head, Michael Steele.
Interesting as all of this is, real Tea Party participants and citizen activists are mainly concerned with state and local elections. While 2016 is important, so are the local school boards, zoning commissions, and other municipal offices that grassroots types now occupy. Sarah B., one of our Tea Party co-founders, is now very involved in shaping local school policies. She has this to say about Tuesday’s results:
How many times have they congratulated each other over our supposedly dead corpses? I’ve lost count. Tea Party has successfully infected the nature and direction of newer candidates, nothing can change that or its momentum (label it anything you want). It took progressivism 100 years to swallow this nation…we won’t win it back overnight, I’ve never though we would. But the new generation of more “small government” minded politicians is bubbling up.
Our candidates are out there, clawing their way out of obscurity and getting their sea legs. It is really challenging to wait for real results, but you know what they say about good things…
Recent studies back Sarah’s observations: Harvard survey confirms libertarian streak among Millennials
And, I will simply point out that the tactics we have learned in the 5-years since the Tea Party’s start has helped San Diegans remove an odious and corrupt mayor. Frankly, we have our eyes more on the June 3rd election (a California Tea Party Coalition Voter Guide is here for consideration).
In conclusion, we aren’t dead, or even wounded. We are simply motivated, and plan to be that way from now until well beyond 2016.
I would like to end on another happy note for many Legal Insurrection fans who are concerned about the possibility of President Hillary Clinton. Tuesday’s election also generated this result: Also in the Keystone State, Chelsea Clinton’s mother-in-law, Marjorie Margolies, lost a bid to reclaim her old House seat, despite some assistance from Bill and Hillary Clinton.DONATE
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