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The Tea Party Cost the Republicans Control of the Senate

Still think the Tea Party movement helped the Republicans win this election? Electoral Vote (one of my favorite websites) makes a really good point that the Tea Party actually cost them control of the Senate.

Democrats held on to the Senate, but by the slimmest of margins. And what the Tea Party did, when they did win, was replace one Republican with a “Tea Party” Republican. But in two cases, Nevada and Delaware, the Tea Party Republican lost, and the person they beat in the Republican primary almost certainly would have won.

In Delaware, Mike Castle was so popular that he scared Joe Biden’s son from even running. But the Republicans picked Christine O’Donnell instead, who lost. Likewise in Nevada, Harry Reid, who is very unpopular, was able to hang onto his seat by painting Sharon Angle as a lunatic. That strategy would not have worked against the establishment Republican candidate, Sue Lowden, but Lowden lost in the primary.

That is two seats that the Republicans could easily have won, which would have given them a majority in the Senate (in addition to their majority in the house).

So right now, the only thing the Tea Party has the power to do is dig in their heels, block the budget, and shut down the government. When the Republicans did that to Clinton, it was extremely unpopular. If they did it now, it would cause the government to stop sending out Social Security checks, and — without TSA security screeners — would ground all air traffic. How long would that last?

UPDATE: The Democrats won an additional Senate seat in Colorado against a Tea Party candidate, which means that the Tea Party has now officially cost the Republicans 3 seats in the Senate. The Dems have also prevailed in Washington State, so they have 53 votes in the Senate.



  1. patriotsgt wrote:

    Exactly right IK. The message the 100’s of local Tea Parties sent to their local legislators was “we are local” and you are elected by us, so if you do a poor job we don’t care what party you belong to you can be voted out. Thats the good and the bad of it.
    Anyone hoping that the TP freshman or their republican colleagues might be willing to compromise on key issues is probably mistaken. Like the far left being upset with Obama and moderate dems for not going far enough, so will the TP’s with candidates they backed or can influence locally.
    The real battles will be in the senate. With 2012 elections around the corner and many more dem seats then repub up for re-election it will be interesting to watch given the strength of the TP movement.
    I think the TP movement was too young and there were a number of candidates that were just unviable, but backed anyway and lost. Now the TPers will have 2 years to look for more qualified candidates to challenge both incumbant repubs and dems. 2012 is the year to watch…. will Obama be challenged for his parties nomination, will the TP become it own party, will the progressives unhappy with moderate dems form their own party…stay tuned to the site that discusses these issues and more…..

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Permalink
  2. Derek wrote:

    Don’t forget about Colorado.

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Permalink
  3. ebdoug wrote:

    My sister campaigned endless for Coons in Delaware. I sent her an e-mail this morning. “Thank Christine and Sharron for the Dems holding on to the Senate.” Oh, just got a Thank You from Reid. I only supported him to block Angle.

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Permalink
  4. Bard wrote:

    “So right now, the only thing the Tea Party has the power to do is dig in their heels, block the budget, and shut down the government. When the Republicans did that to Clinton, it was extremely unpopular.”

    It should be pretty obvious that’s not the Republican plan. Even if they had a majority in the Senate they still wouldn’t have 60 votes. To them right now it’s not about governing, it’s about winning. The plan is to block everything and gamble that the economy continues to suffer, then in 2012 blame Obama for everything.

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Permalink
  5. Mad Hatter wrote:

    I’m hearing today many politicians (including BHO) and pundits saying that the American people have sent the message that they want our representatives in government to work together to solve our problems. Am I the only one right now thinking WTF?? As soon as the 2008 elections were over, the Republicans let it be known that they would oppose Obama in everything he proposed in order to “bring him down”. They certainly kept their word, refusing to work with him even though he literally bent over backwards to include them and even modified his proposals to include historical Republican ideas…almost unanimously they voted AGAINST EVERYTHING. So if the message the American people wanted to convey through their vote was for the parties to work together why in the hell would they reward the Republicans?? Are Americans that freaking stupid?

    We are indeed living in dark and strange times.

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    Bard, that may not be the Republicans’ plan, but with a loose cannon like the Tea Party, all bets are off.

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Permalink
  7. steeve wrote:

    “How long would that last?”

    About five minutes. Then Obama will surrender for no reason at all.

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 10:42 pm | Permalink