, Gloucester, MA

August 6, 2013

Letter: Races marginalizing the Tea Party

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

Not long ago, many political pundits were predicting a Republican take over of the Senate next year.

But with the civil war that’s roiling the GOP continuing to escalate, those predictions are looking increasingly premature.

In Kentucky and South Carolina, the traditionally conservative incumbent senators, Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham, are facing serious challenges from far right, Tea Party extremists in those states’ GOP primaries. And, given the disproportionate influence such right wing, overwhelmingly white, extremist voters now wield in Republican primary contests, the possibility both McConnell and Graham could be defeated in their respective primaries is very real.

The scenarios unfolding in both states are reminiscent of what happened in Nevada and Delaware in 2010, and Missouri and Indiana in 2012. In all four states, Tea Party-style extremists defeated their more traditionally conservative GOP opponents in primary contests, only to go on and lose to their Democratic opponents in the general elections by significant margins.

Should similar outcomes occur in states like Kentucky, South Carolina, and elsewhere next year, it will be very difficult for Republicans to take back the Senate.

For example, in Alaska, Sarah Palin is the big favorite among far right, Tea Party style, extremist voters in the GOP primary according to several statewide polls. But those same polls show Palin trailing far behind the Democratic incumbent among voters who will cast their ballots in the general election.

This is all good news for the Democrats’ hopes of not just maintaining our majority in the Senate but adding to it.

The possibility the Dems will retake the House remains doubtful. But if we can chip away at the Tea Party’s dominance of the House GOP caucus by picking up even just a few seats, along with maintaining or adding to our majority in the Senate, the obstructionism and intransigence that are the hallmarks of today’s do-nothing, right wing, extremist Tea Partiers could well be marginalized and relegated to the ash heaps of politics and history — where they undoubtedly belong.