Last night, the Tea Party Express rolled into Delaware and carried Christine O’Donnell, an obscure perennial loser candidate, to victory over Mike Castle, a six term congressman and popular former governor.
O’Donnell’s victory has sent shockwaves through the GOP establishment. It was the biggest upset yet and the latest in a series of Tea Party victories over handpicked establishment candidates.
A month ago, O’Donnell was dead in the water, but Joe Miller’s victory in Alaska and a Sarah Palin endorsement brought new momentum and resources to her fading campaign. O’Donnell rode the wave of populist resentment against the political class to victory in Delaware.
Blue America was solidly on the side of Mike Castle. In The Washington Post, E.J. Dionne pens a painful tell of woe about the Blues who have been purged from the Republican Party. Dionne himself was at Castle headquarters on Monday crying into his cocktail over the demise of Rockefeller Republicans.
After his defeat in the Republican Senate primary, Mike Castle received telephone calls from Barack Obama and Joe Biden, which says a lot about his political leanings. He will likely join the chorus of defeated Republicans that range from Lincoln Chaffee to Jim Greer to Lisa Murkowski whose universal accusation has been that Tea Party extremists have hijacked the GOP.
The accusation is not without merit: the Tea Party and the conservative grassroots are clearly trying to overthrow the GOP establishment and remold the Republican Party in their own image. They have been chipping away at the Bush legacy for several years now. There is no doubt about that.
This has sparked bold predictions from Blues of a Republican Civil War with Senator Jim DeMint leading a Rebel Army of Tea Party candidates. According to this narrative, Blues are thrilled by the victories of kooks and extremists like Sharon Angle and Christine O’Donnell who make their job of holding a Democratic majority much easier.
This is also what Blues were saying after Rand Paul won in Kentucky, Ken Buck won in Colorado, Mike Lee won in Utah, Joe Miller won in Alaska, Marco Rubio won in Florida, and Sharon Angle won in Nevada. In every case, the “extremist” Tea Party candidates are running ahead or even with their Democratic opponents.
The O’Donnell victory in Delaware has already surged Sharon Angle ahead of Harry Reid in Nevada.
The GOP establishment is dying with a whimper. There isn’t going to be a Republican Civil War. It is clear the Tea Party has already emerged victorious in the contest. Last night, RSCC officials stated that they would not be funding O’Donnell in the general election, a decision that was reversed before I woke up this morning.
A Few Observations
1.) The O’Donnell victory is the latest example of the clash between Red America and Blue America. In a normal election cycle, Castle would have crushed O’Donnell, but the seething rage of White Americans against the political class inspired voters to toss out the anointed insider in favor of the underdog challenger, in spite of their ideological reservations and the conventional wisdom.
2.) The momentum that swept O’Donnell to victory is a point that I have made repeatedly in recent weeks: once ordinary people are set in motion and notch victories into their belt, they gain the confidence necessary to tackle obstacles which were once thought to be insurmountable.
No one thought Scott Brown could win in Massachusetts or Joe Miller could upset Lisa Murkowski in Alaska. Yet it happened anyway. The lesson the Tea Party took away from that experience was to push on to places like Delaware, New York, and New Hampshire.
3.) Three years ago, the Tea Party didn’t exist, but is now on the verge of hijacking the Republican Party and overthrowing the GOP establishment. Whatever your views of the Tea Party, you must grudgingly admit that is quite an accomplishment. It suggests White Nationalists have a lot to learn from Tea Party tactics and fundraising skills.
4.) The Tea Party Express poured thousands of dollars into the Alaska and Delaware Republican Senate primaries. How did they create this financial network? How did they succeed in channeling grassroots anger and money into effective political action? How did they succeed in mobilizing dispirited libertarians and conservatives and transforming them into such a powerful social movement?
5.) The Tea Party has succeeded in pulling the political spectrum in their direction on issues like taxation, spending, and the size of government. Why can’t we do the same on immigration, affirmative action, and multiculturalism where White America broadly supports our point of view?
6.) What is it about the White Nationalist movement that prevents it from experiencing the dynamic, vertical growth which characterizes the Tea Party? What should we be doing that we are not doing to pull the political spectrum in our direction?
Delaware is the latest chapter in a book about the awakening of Red America that has yet to be written. It is part of a larger narrative that winds from the desert of Southern Arizona to the wilds of Alaska to the protests against the Ground Zero Mosque in Manhattan and now to the The First State on the Atlantic seaboard.
The next page will be written soon.