The inside the Beltway establishment news media will be quick to take the nomination of Thom Tillis, the Republican establishment’s favored candidate in the North Carolina senate primary, as proof that this time the Tea Party really is dead.
But as Dan Balz of The Washington Post wrote in the May 5 edition of the paper, “Another big reason the establishment-vs.-tea-party theme may be overdrawn is the degree to which the establishment has adapted to the new world by embracing tea party ideas and sometimes the movement’s confrontational posture. Slate’s David Weigel noted this in a piece about North Carolina recently. He observed that the establishment candidate in the GOP primary, state House Speaker Thom Tillis, has one of the most conservative legislative records in the country.”
So, is it a big disappointment that our CHQ endorsed candidate, Dr. Greg Brannon, came in second in the North Carolina senate primary, and Tillis made it past the 40 percent threshold to avoid a runoff?
Of course it is, but it should not be taken as a sign that the Tea Party is dead, far from it.
The AP’s David Espo reports that “Tillis ran as a conservative with the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Right to Life Committee and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney. American Crossroads, a group founded by Karl Rove, aired television commercials supporting him.” Rove’s group put over $1.6 million into ads in the closing phase of the campaign.
So does this mean that to win all Washington’s GOP establishment has to do is drown insurgent Tea Party and limited government constitutional conservative candidates in a sea of money?
Not at all.
Former New York Times election guru Nate Silver showed that in 2012 insurgent candidates running grassroots campaigns can, and did win. Silver analyzed Republican insurgent campaigns in 2012 and found that the grassroots challengers were able to win nearly half of the primary races against the GOP establishment candidates despite being massively outspent five to one or even ten to one.
What’s more, our issues are winning.
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