How effective was the Tea Party Tuesday in fielding and backing winning candidates? Pretty darned effective, I’d say.
For all the talk of the Tea Party’s strength – and there will certainly be a significant number of their candidates in Congress – just 32% of all Tea Party candidates who ran for Congress won and 61.4% lost this election. A few races remain too close to call.
In the Senate, 10 candidates backed by the Tea Party ran and at least five were successful. (Race in Alaska has not yet been called.)
In the House, 130 Tea Party-backed candidates ran, and just 40 so far have won.
Oh, I know. This is an MS-NBC story, which means it’s intended to disillusion Tea Partiers and build a new post-election meme that the Tea Parties are really no big deal. What other approach is left after an election season that showed the Tea Parties weren’t racist maniacs, that they represented a broad streak of disgust for totalitarian government, and actually had a considerable about of political power?
But let’s look at the situation clearly. This was the first Tea Party election; the movement didn’t even exist 30 months ago. Tea Partiers are not a monolithic block of voters organized under a central command structure like a political party and they’re certainly not united under a broad platform. They held no power inside any major political party, they did not have a war chest of hundreds of millions of dollars, they did not spring from the ruins of an established party, and they were certainly not brimming over with experience operatives able to shepherd candidates through the rough patches of a long campaign season.
Yet they won 32 percent of all their races in their very first outing. That’s impressive by any reasonable measure. If the Tea Parties were a rookie shortstop, we’d be fitting them for a Rookie of the Year award and a trip to the All-Star Game. Don’t believe the left-wing downers at MS-NBC. The Tea Parties were a legitimate and strong political force and they will continue to be so for as long as the need exists.
Category: Political Pontifications