Christine O’Donnell and other Tea Party candidates inch closer
As the November 2010 elections draw closer, a lot of people are fixated on the candidates that align themselves with the Tea Party movement. Candidates allied with or expressed members of the Tea Party bloc are gaining steam. Christine O’Donnell recently won the Delaware Republican Primary for the pending Delaware Senate Election, defeating longtime representative and former Governor Michael Castle. Leadership within the Republican party is questioning whether any Tea Party candidates will do more harm than good.
Tea Party not an actual party
The Tea Party is not a political party. It’s a voting bloc mostly among Republicans, similar to the Democratic Freedom Caucus (libertarian Democrats) or Log Cabin Republicans (Republicans amenable to gay rights). Were tea party organizations to become a third party, it would be the death of it. The most successful third party of all time was the Progressive Party of 1912, also called the Bull Moose Party. The candidate was Theodore Roosevelt. Since then, third parties have performed dismally in presidential and congressional elections. The most successful third party candidate after Roosevelt was segregationist George Wallace, according to Wikipedia, who picked up the electoral votes from 5 states in 1968.
The Delaware Republican Primary for the U.S. Senate race came down to Michael Castle and Christine O’Donnell. Castle was Governor of Delaware for two terms, and a Representative from Delaware since 1993. O’Donnell is the Tea Party favorite but has never been elected to any office. She won the primary, according to the New York Times, 57 percent to 43 percent. Prior to the primary, O’Donnell was endorsed by Sarah Palin. The Palin endorsement is a badge of prestige in Tea Party circles, though Palin did not fulfill an entire term as Governor of Alaska. Her tenure was also marred by ethical and legal investigations.
Talk is cheap
So far, Tea Party candidates have not achieved success beyond primaries. The real effect of these rallies and the movement will not be known until the November elections have concluded. Some members of the Republican party have expressed concern that Tea Party candidates lack sufficient experience and will alienate more voters than they can reach.