The cranks are getting cranky.
For the past two years, Republican senators facing re-election have very deliberately spent millions of dollars, hired multiple consultants and cast scores of conservative votes with one goal in mind: avoiding the embarrassing primary conflagrations that befell their party in 2010 and 2012 and cost Republicans a chance at taking back the Senate.
It has not worked. Despite their careful efforts, some of the best-known and most influential Republicans in the Senate have been unable to shake threats from the right and have attracted rivals who portray these lawmakers as a central part of the problem in Washington.
In Kentucky, Mitch McConnell, the party’s Senate leader, is fending off a charismatic and wealthy conservative challenger. In South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, one of the Senate’s most reliably conservative voices on foreign policy, is being painted by primary opponents as a veritable clone of President Obama.
In Tennessee, Tea Party activists have vowed to take out Lamar Alexander, the veteran senator, former cabinet officer and two-time presidential candidate. “Senator Alexander has never been a true conservative,” said Ben Cunningham, president of the Nashville Tea Party. “His support for the amnesty bill has caused great problems for us,” he said, referring to the Senate immigration bill. “He is at best a moderate.”
Tea Party candidates have also emerged in races against Democratic incumbents in Alaska — Joe Miller, who beat Senator Lisa Murkowski in her last primary, has resurfaced — Colorado, Louisiana and North Dakota, and for open seats in Georgia, Iowa and South Dakota. Democrats hope they can benefit from a divided Republican electorate.
You lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. You reap what you sow. You ride the tiger, you end up inside her. You made your bed, now you’ve shit in it.
Democrats had better do more than just hope they can benefit from the divided Republican electorate. Otherwise it’s just another clown show.