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David French notes that if Marco Rubio is now considered a RINO establishment candidate whom conservatives must oppose it demonstrates beyond doubt that the tea party has won the debate.
It seems that [Rubio’s] now the “establishment” candidate mainly because a number of establishment figures and donors have defected to him after their preferred candidate — perhaps Bush, Christie, or Kasich — failed to gain traction. But if the standard for establishment status is simply whether establishment figures have chosen to support you after their first-choice candidate fails, then every single GOP contender is either establishment or establishment-in-waiting. After all, if Rubio falters, mass numbers of establishment politicians and donors will rush to back Cruz over Trump. And if Cruz falters, those same people will presumably back Trump over Hillary.
Here’s the reality: In the battle — launched in 2010 — between the tea party and traditional GOP powers, the tea party largely won. The contest between Rubio, Cruz, and Trump is a fight between Tea Party 1.0, Tea Party 2.0, and classic American populism. And each one of these candidates would need traditional Republican or “establishment” support in the general election.
He’s right. The political debate is now being fought entirely on tea party terms, with those terms forcing the candidates consistently rightward on every issue. Not only is this a good thing, it suggests a major shift by the American public itself. Our so-called “intellectual elites” might still be liberal, standing there with their fingers in their ears and eyes closed chanting “La-la-la-la-la-la-la-LA!!” so they won’t get triggered by new ideas, but the public has heard what tea party advocates have said and has found those positions worth supporting.
This suggests to me that we might even be seeing a shift in the voting patterns of the low-information television voter, the kind of voter who only comes out during Presidential elections and routinely supports the Democratic candidate being pushed by the mainstream networks. If so, the Democratic Party is in very deep trouble, as they continue to behave as if their low-information voting block remains solid and under their control.