As I write this, I’m boarding a flight out of Alaska to the lower 48. I’ve spent the past few days in Anchorage, where the last really big Tea Party race was taking place.
In it, Tea Party favorite, Joe Miller, was facing off against Karl Rove acolyte, Dan Sullivan. I wanted to see for myself whether the Tea Party is really dead, as the pundits have declared.
Well, the votes have been counted, and the combination of Dan Sullivan and Karl Rove won this round.
Joe Miller ran an underfunded campaign that raised and spent $321,000. On the other hand, the Rove-backed Sullivan received more than $5 million from the Chamber of Commerce and a slew of Republican establishment PACs.
So the question remains: Is the Tea Party dead? At first glance, it seems that way, especially since the Republican establishment has notched a series of primary election victories against conservative challengers.
First, the GOP’s lavish spending helped re-elect aging Senator Thad Cochran in Mississippi. Then the Republican Leader, Mitch McConnell, coasted to victory against an anti-establishment challenger in Kentucky. And now, Rove’s guy has won in Alaska.
But I want to make something very clear: Even though people are ready to start mourning the Tea Party’s passing, it’s actually alive and well.
Down But Not Out
For decades now, pundits have been declaring various movements dead well before their time was up.
All the way back in 1964, Barry Goldwater was trounced by Lyndon Baines Johnson, and the Conservative Movement was pronounced dead. At the time, the establishment was in love with a former New York governor, Nelson Rockefeller.
Then, in 1976, Ronald Reagan was blown out of the water by President Gerald Ford in the battle for the Republican nomination. The GOP establishment used his defeat to pat themselves on the back, and they declared Governor Ronald Reagan to be as anachronistic as Senator Barry Goldwater.
Yet just four years later, Nelson Rockefeller was dead, and Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States.
Today, most people think the Tea Party is toast. But I’m here to tell you otherwise.
In Alaska, I witnessed unmatched energy and passion from Joe Miller’s followers. On the street corners of Anchorage, his followers were the most fervent. He may have lost this primary, but the future in Alaska belongs to him.
The same is true in Mississippi.
Soon, Senator Thad Cochran will fade away, and the future of Mississippi will belong to Chris McDaniel and his followers. McDaniel is just 42 years old, meaning he was born around the same time Cochran was getting elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Today, Karl Rove and his millions of dollars from crony capitalism control the Republican establishment. I hope they enjoy the sweetness of their success, because the seeds of future conservative victories are being planted by Joe Miller, Chris McDaniel, and other heroic Tea Party favorites.
Your eyes on the Hill,