As promised, I stayed off WordPress and Twitter yesterday and enjoyed watching the election without frantically typing up blog posts. But, now that it’s been a bit, I’m back.
There are a huge number of story lines from yesterday’s results. One main one has been about the state of the Republican party. This has come up with a couple of my conservative friends. The party right now is a mix of center-right moderates and extreme Tea Party members. They are held together by a dislike for President Obama, but the ties are tenuous.
Now comes this from the Tea Party Patriots:
The Tea Party Patriots declared war on the Republican establishment after moderate establishment Republican Mitt Romney’s loss to President Barack Obama on Tuesday.Jenny Beth Martin, National Coordinator of Tea Party Patriots, criticized the Republican Party for hand-picking a Beltway elite candidate who did not campaign forcefully on America’s founding principles and said the “presidential loss is unequivocally on them.”
“For those of us who believe that America, as founded, is the greatest country in the history of the world – a ‘Shining city upon a hill’ – we wanted someone who would fight for us,” Martin said. “We wanted a fighter like Ronald Reagan who boldly championed America’s founding principles, who inspired millions of independents and ‘Reagan Democrats’ to join us, and who fought his leftist opponents on the idea that America, as founded, was a ‘Shining city upon a hill.
Instead, Martin lamented, “what we got was a weak moderate candidate, hand-picked by the Beltway elites and country-club establishment wing of the Republican Party.”
Many of the commenters on the article want to form their own “Tea Party” or “Constitutional Party” to break off from the Republican establishment.
I’m wondering how Republican leaders will treat this. I hesitantly think they may jump for joy. Here’s a perfect way to move towards the center, to become more open to Hispanics and more liberal on social issues. The Tea Party is extreme on all those issues. Just by having them jump ship, the Republican party becomes a lot more appealing to minorities and women.
Of course, that leaves a hole in the GOP base. But if the Tea Party runs a candidate in the next election (or in a Senate race, House race, etc.), he won’t have a chance. The Tea Party does not have bipartisan support and America cannot sustain a third party.
In such a situation though, whoever the Republican candidate is will have a chance and the Tea Party members may switch their votes from their own guy to the Republican at the last second to prevent a Democrat victory. In addition, if the Republicans can pick up a decent percentage of minorities and women, the party won’t be as stuck to its base.
It’s certainly a risky strategy, but it’s also a great opportunity. In the end, Republicans may just say, “Bring on the war.”