Yesterday during an interview I was asked, again, if the Tea Party is diminishing. I replied no, not at all. Let’s be clear: because you can’t see the Tea Party protesting and doing street theater doesn’t mean it’s dying off. Street theater, rallies, protests are great for publicity and media, but the Tea Party has moved past that into the work that brings real political change. As I’ve stated previously, one of the ways that the Tea Party strength would be gauged in 2012 was how it would perform in GOP US Senate primaries and in Wisconsin for the Walker Recall. So let’s just take a little walk down memory lane on how those primaries turned out:
1. Indiana Primary: Richard Mourdock 61%, Dick Lugar 39%. That’s defined as a massacre.
2. Nebraska Primary: Deb Fischer + Don Stenberg 59%, Jon Bruning 36%. 60% voted agains establishment candidate.
3. The Walker Recall: Scott Walker wins by nearly 50,000 more votes in recall than he did in November 2010 elections. Tea Party went head-to-head with unions for over a year and won pretty much every time.
4. Texas Primary: Ted Cruz, 56%, David Dewhurst, 44%. That’s pretty much a good old fashioned behind-the-woodshed, rented mule beating.
I’ll concede that the Utah Senate primary didn’t go well, but with the likes of Sarah Palin, AFP, Mark Levin and others providing air cover for Orrin Hatch, the waters were muddied. So if anyone asks again, “Is the Tea Party dead?” the answer is, “No, the Tea Party is alive and well, thanks.”
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