Friday, May 23, 2014

Tea Party = Right Wing Id?

Brian Beutler assesses the state of the GOP's internal struggle in The New Republic.

But the real issue isn't whether the "Tea Party," now vanquished, has been a liability for the Republican Party, but whether the Republican electorate is fractious and reactionary, and has thus kept the Senate out of reach for Republicans two cycles in a row.

The answer is yes. And Republicans have addressed that problem not by running shock and awe campaigns against individual "Tea Party" candidates, but by aligning behind candidates and incumbents conservative enough for the primary electorate yet polished enough (they hope) to avoid Akin-like admissions against interest. There are no Christine O'Donnells this year, but there are no Mike Castles either.

So the questions now are whether the current crop of GOP candidates can actually suppress the right wing Id, and, secondarily, whether the winning candidates of the American right can durably embed themselves into the political system. Just as we know that 2016 (a presidential year) will be a tough one for Senate Republicans, we can also project that conservatives who win swing states this year will face a much different electorate when they're up again in six years. And come then, their conservatism will be a liability, not an asset.

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