Turn out the lights, the tea party is over. Going into Tuesday’s primaries with high hopes, the Tea Party saw its hopes dashed by more moderate Republicans candidates. As the memory of the anemic tax day protests faded, Tea Party leaders pinned their political survival on primary votes in North Carolina, Indiana and Ohio. To their dismay, Republican voters rejected fringe candidates choosing instead to stick with middle-of-the-road Republicans.
Whether Tuesday’s results are a barometer of the upcoming election in November is unclear. One thing is certain – tea party claims of an anti-incumbent wave sweeping Democrats and ideologically impure Republicans out of office have been debunked. Yes there will be some Democratic looses in November and even some Republicans may find themselves without a job. What will not happen is the Congressional sea change predicted by the Right Wing fringe.
If voter turnout by party is an indication, claims of conservatives voting in droves have also gone up in smoke. In the Ohio primary, around 1.8 million voters turned out with Democrats outvoting Republicans 60% to 40%. Ex-Bushie and GOP Senate hopeful Rob Portman ran unopposed. With Democratic Senate candidate Lee Fisher winning his contest against Jennifer Brunner, the stage is set for a November vote between two non-ideologues. Down ballot races in Ohio showed a similar trend with mainstream Republicans winning over fringe-favored candidates.
Now six months really is a lifetime in politics and events could conspire to reinvigorate the fringe wing of the GOP. But if May 4, 2010 was any indication, the tea party is over.