I read this story, Tea Party conservatives surging in primaries yesterday and it struck me that the reporter didn’t really know what he or she was talking about.
WASHINGTON – A Republican civil war is raging, with conservatives dominating ever more primaries in a fight for the party’s soul. And the Democrats hope to benefit.
This shows a complete lack of understanding about both what the Tea Party movement is, and what’s going on in the mid term elections. The Tea Party is not a Republican only conservative movement as much as it’s an anti incumbent, anti government spending, lower tax movement. It’s members don’t seem to be restricted to only Republicans. It seems that there are a lot of independent or unenrolled voters who have suddenly decided that they don’t like what the government as a whole, at all levels, is doing. Voters are unhappy with the direction the country is going in, unhappy with the performance of the President, and most unhappy with the performance of Congress.
While it is true that some long term Republicans, especially Senators, have been ousted from what were only months ago considered “safe” seats, it’s also true that some Democrats won’t be coming back to the Congress next year. Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut is not running for re-election, Congressman David Obey Chair of the Appropriations Committee announced back in May that he would not be seeking re-election after forty years in office, Senator Arlen Spector former Republican turned Democrat lost his the primary election to Joe Sestak who ran as MORE liberal than Spector.
In the races where the primary has already been decided, several long time Democrats stand to be ousted. Senator Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, is in a tight race with Sharon Angle and Senator Patricia Murray of Washington State is behind her Republican challenger. I haven’t even mentioned the governor’s races around the country, which are trending Republican.
The point is that voter dissatisfaction is effecting long term incumbents of both parties. The people of the Tea Party movement want smaller, leaner, less expensive, and less intrusive government.
The GOP is likely to survive its bitter intraparty battles in Alaska and Utah, even if voters oust veteran senators in both.
What the writer doesn’t seem to realize is that the candidates that ousted long time Republicans in those states are very likely to win in the general election in November. Or maybe the writer does realize it, but hopes that the readers don’t.
If you want to get a good idea of what’s happening in the country, and what’s likely to happen in November, look at this map at Real Clear Politics. Note that currently the Democrats have a solid majority in the House after thoroughly trouncing the Republicans just two years ago. Note how many seats the Democrats currently have. Note how many of the “toss up” seats are Democrats.
Will Democrats benefit from what the AP writer calls “bitter intraparty battles”, but in reality is realignment for both parties? Maybe, but on November 3rd, it looks like the Republicans will be in charge in the House, and maybe in the Senate. If they haven’t learned the lessons of the past three election cycles, then it’s like that they will be back out in 2012.
The electorate, especially the independent or unenrolled voters, is not happy with the way their government works. Politicians who are not seriously committed to fixing the problems of the economy, illegal immigration, and national security are likely to find themselves out of office quickly.