Wednesday, May 21, 2014

G.O.P. Establishment Candidates Beat Tea Party Challengers

The title of this post is deceiving.  While Tea Party lunatics went down to defeat in a number of primary contests, the one missing element of the story is that today's "establishment Republicans" are certifiably insane compared to their equivalents even as recently as 20 years ago.   The rise of the Christofascists and their stealth allies in the Tea Party have driven far too many rational Republicans to simply walk away from the party in disgust.  While Tea Party defeats are in general a good thing, the metastasizing cancer remains in the GOP.  A piece in the New York Times looks at GOP primary results.  Here are some excerpts:
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky decisively turned back the first well-financed Republican primary opponent he had faced since being elected in 1984, defeating a Tea Party-backed conservative who claimed the Senate minority leader had been too willing to compromise with Democrats.

Once thought to be vulnerable to such a challenge from the right, Mr. McConnell won with ease over his opponent, the businessman Matt Bevin. Mr. McConnell’s victory sets up what will be one of the most serious tests of his political career, a general election matchup against the Democratic nominee, Alison Lundergan Grimes. It is expected to be the costliest Senate race this year.

Mr. McConnell’s victory came on a day when five other states — Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Pennsylvania and Oregon — held primaries. And in many of those high-profile contests, it was establishment Republicans coming out on top over Tea Party challengers, as in the McConnell-Bevin race.

Georgia Democrats had hoped that the Republicans’ nominee would be one of two hard-line conservatives who finished behind Mr. Kingston and Mr. Perdue on Tuesday. Tea Party-backed candidates have handed unexpected victories to Democrats in Delaware, Missouri and Indiana in recent years, and it was thought that a similarly conservative nominee would be just as vulnerable in Georgia. Still, Ms. Nunn has raised $6.6 million so far in a state that has not had a Democratic governor or senator in a decade but is undergoing rapid demographic changes thought to favor the party.

The races in Kentucky and Georgia are important to Democrats’ chances of keeping control of the Senate because they are the only two states where the party hopes to pick up Republican-held seats.

The Republican primary for a House race in Idaho also represented something of a proxy war between the center-right and hard-line conservatives, with the more conservative of the two candidates also losing. 

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