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Is the Tea Party Over?
The American Conservative ^ | 5-12-2014 | W.James Antle III

Posted on 05/12/2014 6:13:33 PM PDT by smoothsailing

Is the Tea Party Over?

Mitch McConnell says, "We are going to crush them everywhere," and the party establishment is betting he's right.

By W. JAMES ANTLE III • May 12, 2014

Michael Sale / Flickr
Michael Sale / Flickr

Last week, Greg Brannon failed to force a runoff in the North Carolina Republican primary for U.S. Senate. Polls show Paul Broun fading to third or fourth place in Georgia’s primary later this month. Nobody seems to have laid a glove on Lindsey Graham in South Carolina, whose primary will be held in June.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was panned by conservatives for the prediction he made to the New York Times about Tea Party primary challengers. “I think we are going to crush them everywhere,” he said. “I don’t think they are going to have a single nominee anywhere in the country.”

A provocative way for a Republican leader, locked in a tough race himself, to talk about the most passionate activists in his party. But aside from an open seat in Nebraska, where Ben Sasse appears to hold a double-digit lead, is McConnell wrong?

Tea Party candidates still have an outside chance of toppling Thad Cochran in Mississippi and winning the nomination for the Senate seat being vacated by Tom Coburn in Oklahoma. They don’t yet reliably lead in either of these races, however. And from the challenge to Pat Roberts in Kansas to McConnell in Kentucky, conservative insurgents are way behind.

All this is a big change from when Rand Paul beat Trey Grayson, Marco Rubio and Pat Toomey would have pasted Charlie Crist and Arlen Specter, respectively, and Ted Cruz defeated David Dewhurst. Grayson ended up going to Harvard and heading a Democratic super PAC; Crist and Specter left the GOP entirely.

Paul, Rubio, Toomey, and Cruz were all November success stories as well. Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, Ken Buck, and Richard Mourdock all won their primaries but lost the general election, keeping Republicans from picking up the seats they need to win the Senate majority.

In evaluating why Tea Party candidates are struggling, this is as good a place as any to start. Many Republicans, even those who are very conservative, do not trust Tea Partiers to close the sale in tough races. Consequently, they would rather go back to supporting imperfect Republicans to ceding Senate seats to Democrats.

O’Donnell’s problems were obvious from the start. But Buck and Mourdock were decent, if overly combative candidates. They and Angle began their races running well against their Democratic opponents, only to blow them in the homestretch. Even O’Donnell held one slim lead in a Rasmussen poll, clearly an outlier.

Plenty of establishment candidates have also blown winnable Senate races in recent years, notably including Wisconsin’s Tommy Thompson in 2012. But complaining about double standards isn’t going to get more conservatives nominated and elected.

It’s also clear that the establishment is fighting back, trying to deny conservative groups primary victories so as to dry up their future fundraising and going so far as to support primary challenges to certain conservative incumbents.

They don’t have much to show for the latter project yet, as evidenced by Walter Jones winning his primary. But some key Tea Party groups—already in many cases under fire for not spending enough money on the races off which they fundraise—don’t have a good batting average this year.

Like past iterations of the conservative movement, the Tea Party has helped pull the Republican establishment to the right. After Ronald Reagan, Republican presidential candidates stopped sounding like Gerald Ford or Richard Nixon. Mitt Romney and George W. Bush use more conservative rhetoric than George Romney or George H.W. Bush.

Jon Huntsman, widely considered a “liberal” Republican in the 2012 presidential primary, had a record and platform to the right of 2008 nominee John McCain’s.

It takes more than red meat to chop the federal government back down to its constitutional size, however. And in a political climate where Republican bosses are starting to hit back and rank-and-file primary voters are recovering their desire to win at all costs, bad Tea Party candidates have the potential to drag the good ones down with them.

Conservatives are used to this dilemma. Indiscriminately voting for every politician with an “R” next to his or her name doesn’t produce conservative government even if the Republican wins in November. And neither does sending up conservative-sounding candidates who lose.

W. James Antle III is editor of the Daily Caller News Foundation and author of Devouring Freedom: Can Big Government Ever Be Stopped?


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Politics/Elections; US: District of Columbia
KEYWORDS: teaparty
Is the TEA Party Over?

HELL NO!!!


1 posted on 05/12/2014 6:13:33 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing

No, Americans are still

Taxed Enough Already


2 posted on 05/12/2014 6:18:19 PM PDT by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both.)
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To: smoothsailing

I’ve been saying it for a long time. The Republican Establishment HATES the base. They want the Democrat base.


3 posted on 05/12/2014 6:19:19 PM PDT by Viennacon
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To: smoothsailing

The party will only be over when conservatives give up the fight.

Keep fighting and mountains will be moved.


4 posted on 05/12/2014 6:20:13 PM PDT by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults)
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To: smoothsailing

Tillis and/or Mitch could still lose.


5 posted on 05/12/2014 6:22:05 PM PDT by ObamahatesPACoal
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To: smoothsailing

mitch is an old dope.

there is no monolithic “tea party”.


6 posted on 05/12/2014 6:22:59 PM PDT by kingattax (America needs more real Americans.)
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To: smoothsailing

The Tea Party’s Over As Only 41% Of Republicans Support The Far-Right Movement (Another obituary)
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-gop/3153947/posts

Shocking Warning Professor Allegedly Gave Students Who Happen to Be ‘Ted Cruz-Supporting Teabaggers’
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3153085/posts

Does the tea party still have the juice?
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-gop/3151029/posts


7 posted on 05/12/2014 6:25:05 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (I will raise $2M for Cruz and/or Palin's next run, what will you do?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

8 posted on 05/12/2014 6:29:14 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: ObamahatesPACoal

The Tea Party in KY. could still send Mitch packing in the general.


9 posted on 05/12/2014 6:29:16 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: smoothsailing

Umm...”ObamaCare”

It’s still beyond horrifying. Scream that from every rooftop.

You’ll win.


10 posted on 05/12/2014 6:30:14 PM PDT by Regulator
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Vote for the Tea Party.

Bring back American jobs.

Vote for Sarah Palin.


11 posted on 05/12/2014 6:32:02 PM PDT by Cringing Negativism Network (http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700.html#2013)
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To: smoothsailing
`Lipless' Mitch McConnell, the Beltway Bubble Boy, and Weepy John Boehner, two beeber stuners: mitch Mcconnell photo: Mitch McConnell John  Boehner JohnBoehnerandMitchMcConnellRepublicanClowns.gif Shirley, we can do better than these two loosers...
12 posted on 05/12/2014 6:33:22 PM PDT by tumblindice (America's founding fathers: all armed conservatives)
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To: smoothsailing

Man....what is it with these articles? No.


13 posted on 05/12/2014 6:35:24 PM PDT by 98ZJ USMC
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To: smoothsailing

The GOPe may rule the party and control its purse strings but they better remember that millions could easily stay home and cost the Repukeicans dearly. At this point what’s so bad if the GOP loses both houses. Don’t think it will happen but I won’t be crying tears over it if this occurs. The RINO deadwood that’s undercutting the Republican Party needs to be purged.


14 posted on 05/12/2014 6:40:07 PM PDT by dowcaet
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To: smoothsailing

They can crush the “tea party”. But they’ll get crushed without the “tea party”.


15 posted on 05/12/2014 6:56:20 PM PDT by VerySadAmerican
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To: VerySadAmerican
They may win in the short term, but lose in the end.

I for one will not vote for my current congressman. I also will not work for any campaign that has a rino. As a matter of fact I am currently explaining why my congressman should not be elected again to others in my district. In the past I have done all the above for rinos and got nothing from it.

I am running for a precinct delegate so that the local rinos can be voted out. Many many delegates are running to do the same here because we realize how much the GOP has lied to it's base.

16 posted on 05/12/2014 7:02:25 PM PDT by jimpick
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To: smoothsailing; alarm rider; Alex1977; at bay; Babsig; BILL_C; bnelson44; ColdOne; DesScorp; ...
Nobody seems to have laid a glove on Lindsey Graham in South Carolina, whose primary will be held in June.

There are a bunch of people who know linda won't get the critical 50+1 in the primary.

Twelve years ago this was elected
as our Senator from South Carolina...

Now it is time to

kiss the Fairey
GOODBYE!
Want on or off this ping list? Just FReepmail me.

h/t to martin_fierro for the fairey graphic

17 posted on 05/12/2014 7:02:42 PM PDT by upchuck (Support ABLE, the Anybody But Lindsey Effort. Yes, we are the ABLE!!)
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To: upchuck

LOL!


18 posted on 05/12/2014 7:08:22 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: VerySadAmerican

> They can crush the “tea party”. But they’ll get crushed without the “tea party”.

Fomenting dissent by using the MSM is the only play they have and even the LIV people are figuring things out. They will crush themselves. Ole Mitch is just flapping his gums for applause around his donors or donations to pad his war chest. Secretly they are there to watch his turkey neck waddle to get a few good laughs.


19 posted on 05/12/2014 8:10:48 PM PDT by jsanders2001
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To: upchuck

The RINOS hate individual liberty and freedom as much as the communist democrats. How do we give them the thanks they justly deserve?


20 posted on 05/12/2014 8:12:25 PM PDT by MtnClimber (Just doing laps around the sun and shaking my head that progressives can believe what they do!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

> The Tea Party’s Over As Only 41% Of Republicans Support The Far-Right Movement (Another obituary)
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-gop/3153947/posts

Shocking Warning Professor Allegedly Gave Students Who Happen to Be ‘Ted Cruz-Supporting Teabaggers’
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3153085/posts

Does the tea party still have the juice?
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-gop/3151029/posts

Who do you think writes these types of articles? Lefties of course. Anytime they say they’re righties you can bet they are really liberals posing as conservatives to distribute propaganda. I see it all the time. You have to dig a little but the truth always outs them.


21 posted on 05/12/2014 8:15:23 PM PDT by jsanders2001
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To: upchuck

Graham has been saturating the airways here in the Columbia area with ads supposedly showing what a great conservative he is. I hope I’m wrong, but I expect that people with only a superficial interest in politics — that is, most persons — will fall for it.

I’m pessimistic about the right having long term success — either inside or outside the Republican party — as long as the left controls the schools, the mainstream media, and pop culture. We can denounce RINOs to our hearts’ content on sites like this, but most persons don’t even know what a RINO is (they also don’t know that the Democrats suck).


22 posted on 05/12/2014 8:51:26 PM PDT by GJones2 (No long term success as long as the left controls most sources of information)
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To: smoothsailing

Who has that “We the people” tsunami pic they can put up?


23 posted on 05/13/2014 6:17:41 AM PDT by VTenigma (The Democratic party is the party of the mathematically challenged)
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To: GJones2
Graham has been saturating the airways here in the Columbia area with ads supposedly showing what a great conservative he is. I hope I’m wrong, but I expect that people with only a superficial interest in politics — that is, most persons — will fall for it.

I’m pessimistic about the right having long term success — either inside or outside the Republican party — as long as the left controls the schools, the mainstream media, and pop culture. We can denounce RINOs to our hearts’ content on sites like this, but most persons don’t even know what a RINO is (they also don’t know that the Democrats suck).


Your post is true for Upstate TV as well. Probably worse on cable/sattelite but I wouldn't know anymore.

Resist the pessimism; could be allergies instead.
24 posted on 05/13/2014 6:24:25 AM PDT by Resettozero
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To: Resettozero

:-)


25 posted on 05/13/2014 3:42:55 PM PDT by GJones2 (No long term success as long as the left controls most sources of information)
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To: smoothsailing

The ‘Tea Party’ candidates might not win, but they’ll at least bring up subjects the establishment GOP would just as soon not discuss. This will get some voters thinking, and even if the more conservative candidate doesn’t win, the issues will have been raised, and start being discussed.


26 posted on 05/14/2014 4:49:02 PM PDT by SuziQ
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To: VTenigma

27 posted on 05/14/2014 5:03:54 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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