The Washington Times ran a discouraging story last night, “GOP establishment defeats tea partyers in Ohio, North Carolina and Indiana primaries.”
We knew that the establishment GOP was at war with the Tea Party; this shouldn’t surprise us. But we shouldn’t let our failure to win these primaries make us think we are defeated. The fact is that the war has not begun yet.
Heading into the night, several of the Republican races had been cast as the first of a series of high-profile primary battles between the picks of the Republican establishment and those of groups aligned with the tea party.
That was crystallized on the eve of the North Carolina election in 2012 when presidential nominee Mitt Romney endorsed Mr. Tillis and Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican and tea party favorite, headlined a rally for Mr. Brannon.
But the support for Mr. Tillis‘ rivals never reached the fevered pitch that helped propel tea partyers to victory in the 2010 election cycle, as grass-roots activists were divided between Mr. Brannon, a libertarian, and Mr. Harris, a Baptist pastor who was endorsed by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, also a former minister.
Mr. Tillis, meanwhile, received support from Mr. Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Let’s think back to 2010. The Tea Party won big because people were in shock about how the country had changed. I don’t mean they were in shock by Barack Obama’s presidency. That was only one factor. They were in shock that Bush had resorted to bailouts and “stimulus” as a way to fix the economy, that the GOP field of candidates was so bad, and that we were defeated by the Democrats.
In other words, everyone knew that the Republican establishment had failed.
But nothing happens all at once. The Republican establishment has managed to regroup. People always hope that life will go on as normal, even when they should know better. So they naturally tend toward “business as usual” candidates.
What we need to do is keep the Tea Party option alive and wait for the next (and bigger) crisis. Eventually, the Republican establishment will once again be seen as the failure that it is, and the Tea Party will make some more gains.
Without patience, we won’t win anything; we will give up too soon.