This is how the tea party ends.

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This is how the tea party ends.

The Tea Party’s success is not gauged by primaries alone. It’s gauged by how much the Tea Party’s priorities become the Republican Party’s priorities.

The Tea Party’s impact in primaries is largely about putting fear into establishment candidates, whether they knock them off or not. It took them two cycles, but the traditional Republican establishment took the right lessons from the Bennett and Lugar losses. Orrin Hatch spent 2011-12 voting lockstep with Mike Lee. Primary threats made Mike Enzi part of the organizing group for the defund push. Pat Roberts is doing his best to don the winger apparel. Lindsey Graham is trying like mad to re-establish his conservative credentials. Thad Cochran is the exception that proves the rule: it’s no accident that a traditional Washington appropriator who hasn’t modified his ways is the most vulnerable GOP Senator this cycle. So if establishment Republicans understand that they are vulnerable in primaries, and have to pretend to be Tea Partiers when they’re in cycle, is that a sign that the Tea Party is dead – or a sign that it’s had a significant political impact?

The tea party movement has won because it is now driving the political debate, in both parties. Republicans want to look like tea partiers, and even Democrats are shaping their election campaigns with tea party issues in mind.



  • BSJ

    Talk about Newspeak!

    Losing is winning.

  • I’m not sure I understand your comment. Please explain.

  • Publius 2

    The Tea Party confounds liberals because it is not funded by unions or big business, it is not abetted by the mainstream media, and it follows no single leader. It is a true grassroots movement, grounded in constitutional principles and unfailingly opposed to government corruption, statism and oppressive social policies. The Tea Party, not the GOP leadership, represents the hope for the future. Because of that simple factor, eventually they will win.

  • Kelly Starks

    You normally see new strong 3rd party positions getting adopted by one of the two main parties. The tea parties strength was it was focused on a couple solid points (gov limited to constitutional powers, balanced budgets, getting out of peoples way) which everyone could agree on. A good fusion of their libertarian/conservative core without a lot of their other twos side issues that cripple their support. But that simplicity made them easy to adopt, and their inability to develop any national spokesmen or candidates that really follow their views; made it hard for them to move beyond grass roots, and easy to be coopted.

    May their lesson be taken to heart by the R’s. ;)

  • Pzatchok

    Think of it as this.

    Is the Tea Party taking over the Republican party and losing the name of Tea Party or are they forcing the Republican Party to convert or imitate them and thus being cut out of the party and losing influence.

    Either way. If they lose identity or they lose influence they win by changing the Republican party.

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