After the stunning defeat of Mike Castles in Delaware last night the question can Tea Party candidates win in November? Conventional wisdom of the beltway politicos is they can as the tea party base is motivated and will show up to the polls.
I demure from this view. I think we need to let history serve as a guide.
The tea party is nothing more than populism in new clothing and with a fancy name. It is still ultimately about the little guy feeling like the man is keeping him down, the man being big government, bureaucrats, progressives, liberals, who want to enslave the little man by making us a socialists nation.
While in the past the populists were able to elect some candidates such as Tom Watson of Georgia, Thedo Bilbo of Mississippi, and Pitchfork Ben Tillman of South Carolina by and large they never achieved success at the polls. While I will agree that our nation is conservative I add a modifier to that label; moderate. The United States, as a nation, is adverse to radicalism, whether it be progressive or populists. We want prudent, fiscally responsible government. We are loath to find solace in bomb throwers and radicals who want to tear everything down. Rather, as a nation we want solutions to problems, not sound bites. We want our politicians and elected officials to make government work for all not just the well heeled and powerful.
While some Tea party candidates may win in November I believe they will largely be unsuccessful. However their influence will be felt as they will force politicians of persuasion to look for practical and prudent solutions to the problems facing the nation. We can be assured that politicians, democrat and republican, have read the headlines and know it can’t be business as usual.