Maybe the Tea Party’s not over!?

So an unknown university professor, David Brat, has beaten Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a surprising election result this week; launching SO much interesting speculation into party and election politics in the USA on SO many levels.

Fundamentally the key question on most analysts’ lips is, “Is the Tea Party back”? Largely written off since their high-water mark on 2008, the Republican Party (who have so much to fear from these protest voters) appeared to most to have killed this potential monster on the right of American politics in 2012, when the moderate Romney won the Party’s nomination. However, the news that a Tea Party challenger has beaten an incumbent (and what an incumbent… a key character in the hierarchy of the Republican Party!) raises many uncomfortable questions for a party that desperately wants to move away from its ‘angry white men image’ in order to retake the White House in 2016. If the Tea Party is resurgent then that’s lost votes for the Republicans (bad news for them!), and if the Tea party’s resurgent then that’s only going to pull the party to the social and fiscal right in an attempt to see off their challenge (which again is bad news for the republicans!); either way all past elections indicate that ‘angry white men’ alone will not provide the Republicans (or any party) with the keys to the White House. … Rest assured the Republicans will be mulling this shock over for a while yet, indeed what’s the betting the Democrats are watching this one too? (One assumes it the republicans that have most to fear from the Tea drinkers, but Obama and the Democrats are not exactly pleasing many with the pace of their reforms to immigration – a touch-stone issue for Tea Party aficionados!). …My what interesting times we live in…

For our course this issue/and example has direct relevance for Unit 3’s topics on Elections & Voting, Political Parties & Unit 4’s topic on Congress.

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