The prospects for an entertaining election in 2014 took a big hit yesterday thanks to the Tea Party taking it in the shorts in a couple of races.
First, Thad Cochran squeaked out a win in the Senate run-off in Mississippi. As hard-right as he is, his opponent, Chris McDaniel, was even further to the right. Mr. McDaniel had the endorsement of the Tea Party because Mr. Cochran’s ability to bring federal money back to a state that ranks at the bottom of the barrel in everything from education spending to highway maintenance is un-American.
There were other primaries yesterday, too, and the Tea Party got the fuzzy end of the lollipop in at least two other races. In Oklahoma, a primary for the Senate seat being vacated by Tom Coburn went to the establishment GOP Rep. James Lankford over T.W. Shannon, who had the endorsement of the usual Tea Party suspects. In Colorado, Bob Beauprez won the GOP nod to run for governor over certified loon Tom Tancredo.
So now that the Tea Party lost a race they heavily invested in and won a race they completely ignored — Dave Brat v. Eric Cantor in Virginia — what wisdom do you think the Very Serious People will come up with to explain this on Morning Joe?
The fairly obvious reason is that Chris McDaniel was running in a state-wide race and Dave Brat was running in a congressional district. The bigger the pool, the lesser the chances are that the base will have an overpowering influence. Even Republicans are beginning to figure out — just barely — that the fringier you are, the less chance you have of winning in the general election. Just ask Sen. Sharron Angle of Nevada.
By the way, Chris McDaniel hasn’t conceded the race yet, and there’s rumbling from his camp about contesting the outcome.