One of the major reasons that a Republican tidal wave
continues to form is that the radical right challenge
to incumbent Republican house and senate members
has so far failed to gain traction. In 2006, 2008, 2010
and 2012 this intraparty “insurrection” gained support,
and the result was that many senior GOP figures either
retired or were defeated in primaries, and the challengers
failed to keep the seat for the conservative party, even in
districts or states that were considered “safe” Republican.
The media often characterizes the challengers as “Tea
Party” or “libertarian” factions who do not consider
the challenged incumbents as “conservative” and “pure”
enough, but the real conflict does not seem to be over
true conservative principles as much as it does a
conflict over political strategy in an era in which a very
liberal Democrat occupies the White House, and the
U.S. senate is dominated by uncompromising Democratic
majority. The Tea Party and libertarian factions within the
Republican Party do remain significant, but the “radical”
elements of these factions no longer seem to be in "total"
control, especially in the face of overwhelming evidence
that “shutting down” the government over Obamacare and
the debt ceiling was politically self-destructive and
rejected by most independent voters (who hold the
balance of power in close November elections).
In previous cycles, many (but not all) of the “upset” GOP
challengers failed spectacularly in individual races, most
of them U.S senate races. Republicans made gains in 2010
(and dramatically won back control of the U.S. house), but
came up short to win control; and in 2012, Republicans
actually lost ground in a cycle they were hoping to win a
majority. Now in 2014, as the primary season begins in
earnest, early returns indicate that those conservatives
who are challenging GOP incumbents are being rejected
by Republican voters who are more upset with President
Obama, Obamacare and Democratic policies, and want to
make the 2014 election a “plebiscite” on the national turn
to the left.
There are, and will be, a few exceptions to this, and the
liberal media will continue to gleefully characterize the
GOP nominating season as a “civil war” pitting grass
roots conservatives against the GOP “establishment.”
There is, it is true, an ongoing tension in the Republican
Party between generations, regions, factions, and over the
strategy to regain the White House (presumably in 2016),
but with a formidable political tidal wave forming in their
favor, and the unpopular Obamacare continuing to implode,
Republican voters so far seem to focus on increasing winning
numbers in November.
It is important to stress, however, that the formation of an
electoral tidal wave in 2014 is currently taking place “out at
sea,” and does not mean it will continue unabated and reach
land. Many a climate hurricane fails to fully form, or even if
it does, to reach land. Democrats still do have considerable
resources, and cards to play.
A clearer view will emerge as the primary season decides
who the nominees of each party in each race will be.
Copyright (c) 2014 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.