The election is over. Many around the country are thrilled beyond belief, thinking finally there will be a magical coming together of the Congress, while many others are pulling non-perishable items into their doomsday shelters to prepare for the socialist revolution coming to take their guns, religion and freedom of speech away. Both sides are somewhat deluded, yet the people who are waking up with the biggest political hangover this morning are the Republican elite. I wrote back in 2009 that enveloping the Tea Party into their tent and using them for their brash, outlandish form of enthusiasm was going to bite them in the end and it certainly did.
The Tea Party was the main engine of the 2010 red wave into the Congress and across various state-bound races, but while it looked great on a local level, the Tea Party extremism failed to capture the Senate in 2010 and caused the Republicans to fail once again in 2012. Not only that, but some of the main firebrands in the Tea Party caucus woke up the day after the election without a job, kicked to the curb by voters as quickly as they were voted in:
Allen West, Joe Walsh – Gone.
Richard Murdock, Todd Akin – Denied.
These were some key races and should have helped the Republicans take the Senate in a year when most people had completely written off the chance of the Democrats retaining control. Not only did it stay blue, but the Dems picked up seats. The Republicans can try to navigate the waters of blame and convince themselves it was everything from hurricane Sandy to not being able to connect with Latino voters (both of which were certainly factors), but in the end, the control of the Senate was lost to them because they were unable and unwilling to stand up to the extreme wings of the Tea Party, which is now forever linked to their own so-called Big Tent.