The impact of the Tea Party movement on US politics is proving both good and bad to the US right.
The movement is fascinating because it really is what so many people in politics have called for – a grass roots movement that is not controlled by the establishment, that has no leaders – just a set of shared values. Now there are downsides to having no structure and no leaders (extremists etc), but the positive is several million Americans have joined this movement and are far far more enthusiastic at participating in it than they are with mainstream politics.
There is no doubt that the momentum generated by the Tea Party movement is part of the reason that the Democrats face losing the House, the majority of Governorships and possibly even the Senate. They are not the only factor, but they have generated a degree of hostility towards “Big Government”, that many incumbents are facing oblivion.
And not just Democrat incumbents. They have got bolder and bolder in challenging incumbent Republicans. They have won many victories in primaries. However this makes the job of winning the general election much harder. Harry Reid was 10% behind in Nevada against the mainstream Republican candidate but is now neck and neck vs teh Tea Party backed candidate.
And in Delaware, Christine O’Donnell just won the primary against Mike Castle who has held office within Deleware for around 40 years and was rated highly likely to beat the Democrats in the general election.
O’Donnell has been disowned by everyone from Karl Rove down. She has advocated against masturbation (equating it with adultery), has a history of bad debts.
But having said that, she may manage to win in the general election. Other tea party backed candidates have shown they can be competitive against the Democrats.
In Florida, the general consensus when Rubio beat Crist for the Republican nomination is that it would fall to the Democrats. 538 currently has Rubio on 40%, Crist (as an Independent) on 38% and the Democrats’ Meek out of it on 22%.
So it is possible that the Republicans will still win the Senate. The Tea Party backed candidates may win in the general election.But O’Donnell may end up as a ticking time bomb – exploding either before or after the election.