Will Tea Party Victories in the Primaries Really Hurt Republicans This Fall?
Establishment Republicans are not pleased with primary wins by the likes of Christine O'Donnell and Rand Paul. These upstarts, however, may not be true obstacles to the GOP's return to power.
All that said, these candidates should not keep the GOP from reaching its goals this fall. Despite their newbie behavior, the Tea Party candidates also exemplify the fresh energy that Americans on both sides politically want to see in government. People are more inclined to vote for hope and a change in how politicians act and how elections are run, a theme that obviously played well for a young senator who was new to Washington just a few years ago. In 2008 the Democrats owned that narrative with Barack Obama as the candidate. Now the Republicans have taken over the same narrative, even if they must put up with some gaffes along the campaign trail.
Just as in 2008, the candidates backed by the Tea Party movement will remind voters that the election of 2010 -- with issues like high unemployment, largely unsuccessful government spending and legislative "victories" unpopular with the majority of Americans -- is not about political parties. This fall, as in 2008, it is about indicting the bureaucratic establishment in Washington.
And to the Republicans' advantage, their image is blending with a grassroots movement that will usher in unexpected victories for the GOP in November, much as the Democrats used technology, youth, diversity and the Bush legacy to gain sweeping victories in 2008.
The inexperience of some candidates who rode to prominence by way of the Tea Party may make it more difficult to advance the political ball this fall for the minority party, but even if these candidates threaten the Republican legacy establishment, they are not likely to prevent the Republicans from regaining control of Congress.
Lenny McAllister is a syndicated political commentator and frequent contributor to The Root. He will host the morning radio show Launching Chicago With Lenny McAllister Tuesday, Sept. 21, on WVON, The Talk of Chicago 1690 AM.