Primary Lessons

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While primary challenges from the Left sputtered, Tea Party-backed conservatives scored several successes. Most prominently, Sharron Angle, until recently a relative unknown, rode the Tea Party movement’s support to victory in a crowded field for Nevada’s Republican nomination for the Senate. Although Tea Party spending to support Angle’s candidacy was limited compared to Big Labor’s efforts in Arkansas – the Tea Party political action committee spent just $550,000 to boost her name recognition – it was far more effective: From a 5 percent approval rating as recently as April, Angle went on to win the nomination. Tea Party-backed candidates also won in Georgia, Maine and South Carolina.

It was not all glory for the Tea Party. In California and New Jersey, Tea Party favorites failed to break through. (A too-close-to-call race between Tea Party candidate Anna Little and establishment rival Diana Gooch in New Jersey’s 6th Congressional district was one notable exception.) Even in defeat, though, there was encouraging news for the movement, as Tea Party candidates ran strongly in almost all races in which they were involved. At the very least, their generally strong showing indicated that despite their now-stale slogans of “change,” the Left is not nearly as energized, and not nearly the same force in primary races, as the surging conservative opposition.

Still, those determined to rain on the Tea Party’s parade ask a pertinent question: Can the movement replicate its strong success in primaries in general election races, where it must court a more ideologically diverse electorate? Democratic strategists and the mainstream media have professed glee over the prospect of Democratic incumbents facing candidates like Sharron Angle, whom they deem too far out of the mainstream. One Democratic strategist suggested that Harry Reid would be “dancing in the streets” were Angle to win the GOP nomination. The Washington Post even did Reid the unsolicited favor of producing a list of allegedly damning quotes that Reid could use to paint Angle as an extremist. But if early poll results are any guide, the Angle-Reid matchup won’t be the cakewalk that Democrats suppose. Indeed, a recent Mason-Dixon poll has Angle beating Reid by 44 percent to 41 percent. The Tea Party, it seems, is just getting started.

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  • USMCSniper

    "Wherever possible go outside the experience of the enemy. Here you want to cause confusion, fear and retreat." "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also, it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage." "The threat is generally more terrifying than the thing itself." "In a fight almost anything goes. It almost reaches the point where you stop to apologize if a chance blow lands above the belt." "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it." "The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction will be your major strength." For instance, Democrats imply conservatives are racists or that Republicans want to kill senior citizens by limiting the growth of the Medicare system,

  • kim

    The old saying : don't interfer with the enemy while it is self_destructing :)

  • Tar_n_Feathers

    The radical Left versus Tea Party conservatives is a stark contrast in practical real-time politics. The Left is a toxic anathema that Dem candidates have to tip-toe around–perhaps pay them some token lip service–but ultimately keep their distance. Tea Party conservatives may not run the show, but they've proven to be an important, politically viable constituency that GOP candidates must take seriously.

  • Rifleman

    The WaPo's quotes will probably backfire on them. That was part of Ronald Reagan's genius. He would say things that most Americans agree with, but would sent the dp/msm into such fits that they would give him gobs of free advertising with their screaming and carrying on.

  • Jackie Mason

    Angle is a total nutjob, so much so that Palin wouldn't endorse her. Reid couldn't have chosen a better opponent. For him.

    • Scar

      WUT????????? LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Austin Milbarge

      It really doesn't matter if she endorsed her or not. She is leading Reid in the poles 50% to 39%. Say buh-bye to the biggest weenie in Washington! Make that second biggest weenie.

  • pyeatte

    I hope Reid keeps thinking that. Reid problem is 14-15% unemployment in Nevada partly because Reid never went to bat for Nevada at the national level. Obama advised people not to go the Nevada for conventions and such – Reid didn't fight that. He has proven to be a creature of DC and forgot to represent the people in his own state. If I recall Obamacare was very unpopular in Nevada and Reid pushed it against the will of his people. She is going to clean his clock.

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  • Frank Gnomes

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  • Gregor Perra

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  • Eric

    What a great read, this was truly an entertaining article.
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  • Gregory G

    Well her defeat did not come but it will… and it will be punishment for being too loyal to the Left’s agenda rather than for straying too far from it for sure! Espressomaschinen Berlin

  • jamesboags

    Hopefully this new teaparty movement can get rid of this left winged government.
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  • Hannes Lichtenwagner

    Tea Party is an important counterpart to the dems

  • Taxi Software

    Thanks for sharing your well detailed and informative article. Looking forward to read more of your blogs. Thanks.

  • Dog nutrition guide

    How will Reid get over that unemployment rate in different state or in Nevada?

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    We need real people running this country, not politicians. Tulsa Dentist

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  • steve

    as far as political commentary goes this is definitely one of the most interesting blogs I have come accross. keep up the good work and thanks for sharing with us
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    Gotta love America!
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  • Luca

    Great work on putting this together.
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