After the primaries on Tuesday, I gave own analysis, noting that the tea party lost in all important contested races and the establishment won. To read my comment on what this meant for the Republican Party and the tea party movement, follow this link. Below are what others have had to say about the issue.
Red State: Does The Tea Party Need More Experienced Candidates?
The larger number of Establishment victories this season has fueled the “Tea Party is dead” narrative. Certainly it illustrates the growing sophistication of the Establishment campaigns (especially incumbents) in spotting Tea Party challenges early and working to close them off. It also illustrates the number of races in which a low-quality, poorly-funded Tea Party primary challenge will be mounted against incumbents who in years past would simply have run unopposed. Tea Partiers may occasionally find a diamond in the rough, but their desire to celebrate the citizen-politician shouldn’t obscure the fact that politics is a craft, and people who have practiced it for some time are more likely to have gotten good at it.The above is a detailed analysis of the primaries on Tuesday and the fate of the tea party. The author says the tea party can win with good candidates and when they run good campaigns.
Daily Beast: Tea Party Loses Key Battles, But Is Winning The War
Defeats handed to Tea Party candidates last night only tell half the story—the Tea Party’s real success has been to change the very DNA of the GOP. .... The Tea Party got shut out on Tuesday night. .... Despite not having any candidates who draped themselves in Gadsden flags win marquee races on Tuesday, the election results showed the ultimate success of the Tea Party’s effort to change the very DNA of the GOP, as the median voter in a Republican primary has become far more conservative in the past few years. The “establishment” candidates may have won—but they did so by becoming increasingly conservative. (link)I said something very similar to the above in my analysis. Much of the establishment is tea party.
Hot Air: The GOP’s “civil war” is over, and the tea party has “swallowed the establishment” — according to Debbie Wasserman Schultz
From Daniel Horowitz: Establishment Republicans Only Win With a Tea Party Message
As the GOP primary season progresses, the media narrative of the grassroots vs. party establishment has vacillated wildly. Whenever a candidate backed by the party elite wins, readers are bombarded with headlines trumpeting the demise of the tea party. Whenever a candidate heavily backed by the grassroots and tea party groups wins, the narrative turns back against the establishment. In reality, neither storyline is correct because the policy positions supported by the party elites have never shown up on the campaign trail.
Elections hinge upon several complex variables – factors that are often unique and isolated to a specific race. But one variable has been consistent: establishment candidates will not run on the positions taken by their supporters; they must run on the tea party message to win.
The tea party is not represented by any individual organization or candidate. It is a set of ethos advocating return to the constitutional principles of our Founding Fathers – principles that have gradually been eroded over the past century, and most precipitously in recent years. The civil war between “tea party” Republicans and the party elites has been manifest in specific policy disagreements stemming from these principles, such as bailouts, debt ceiling increases, funding for Obamacare, open borders, corporate welfare and federal control over local functions.
Yet in none of the election victories claimed by establishment candidates did they run on the position espoused by their side of the ideological divide. (link)
Now that another round of Republican primaries have passed there will be a litany of pundits and party leaders coming forward to demand that conservatives line-up behind establishment primary winners like Mitch McConnell in Kentucky and Monica Wehby in Oregon. However, many conservatives are going to be asking “What should I do now that Republicans have nominated an establishment candidate for Senator, Congress, etc. in my state?”
Our advice is, don’t be the Republican establishment’s cheap date......
The grassroots movement conservative voters who are powering this cycle’s outsider campaigns cannot be taken for granted.
Tea Partiers and grassroots conservative activists must redouble their efforts to takeover the Republican Party (link)
The finger-pointing within the tea party has begun in the aftermath of a wave of Republican establishment victories in congressional primaries Tuesday night.
State Rep. Joe Carr, a tea party challenger to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said Wednesday outside conservative groups had a negative impact on the movement's chances in the Kentucky Senate race, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell throttled challenger Matt Bevin.
“I think it's equally argued that they had a negative impact with Mitch McConnell and here’s why: All the attention that Mitch McConnell drew through Matt Bevin and the conservative groups came from outside of Kentucky," Carr said on a Nashville radio station Wednesday morning. "It’s obvious that Kentuckians never latched on to the Matt Bevin campaign." (link)
1. Establishment GOP has learned to play ball: Since its birth in 2009, the tea party has had successes in primaries but those have given the GOP plenty of headaches and hurt its chances of winning back the Senate, effectively costing Republicans five winnable elections over the last two cycles.
This year, the establishment has had the upper hand in most contests against tea party-backed challengers. Showdowns on Tuesday in Kentucky, Idaho, Georgia, and Oregon kept that winning streak going.
"Every establishment candidate ran like a tea party candidate. It's hard to tell the difference this time around, because they had a uniting factor in opposing Obamacare but also united on issues like immigration and trade and climate change. The establishment Republican Party ran to the right this time," said CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger. (link)