No doubt the GOP Establishment chalked up a few big wins in Tuesday’s primaries—John Boehner easily cruised to a primary win in Ohio (no one seriously predicted otherwise). And in the important North Carolina GOP Senate primary, Establishment favorite Thom Tillis overpowered two more conservative, yet poorly vetted, candidates. Tillis also had massive outside financial assistance from groups such as Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and the Chamber of Commerce.
In another North Carolina race, incumbent GOP Congresswoman Renee Ellmers defeated her more conservative, anti-amnesty opponent Frank Roche (whom Ingraham supported). He raised about $23,000 and was outspent 18 to 1. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in outside ad support rolled in for Ellmers from well-known pro-amnesty groups, including liberal Mark Zuckerberg’s FWD.us
. Meanwhile, the Tea Party Patriots PAC gave Roche nada. Nothing. Zilch. Heck, they didn’t even return Roche’s calls. So it’s no surprise that Ellmers won big. Immigration activists and Politico are touting her victory as a bellwether for things to come. But not so fast--
North Carolina’s staunch anti-amnesty, anti-war conservative Rep. Walter Jones defeated his primary challenger, former Bush aide Taylor Griffin. Unlike Jones, Griffin refused to sign the no-amnesty pledge
and was backed by billionaire Sheldon Adelson. Yet local Tea Party groups failed to pick up on this obvious red-flag, and chose to endorse moderate Griffin over more conservative candidate, Rep. Jones.
Without the Tea Party there would be no current GOP majority in the House. Since 2010, it has moved the political debate on key issues such as the national debt, ObamaCare, and taxes. Their victories in states such as Kentucky and Texas were a slap in the face to Old Washington. In fact, they were so effective, they were targeted by the Obama IRS.
But recently, the groups have lost their unity of purpose. Let's face it, they've become disorganized and poorly run. Out of the $37.5 million raised by the PACS of the 6 major tea party organizations, less than $7 million has been devoted to directly helping candidates. This obviously means fewer tea party candidates will win, and fewer new voters will take notice. An extremely articulate caller to Ingraham’s radio show, a 24 year-old woman named Melanie, summed it up bluntly: "The Tea Party brand is ruined. I'm dismissed immediately just for mentioning it. We, as young people, need to become more informed and speak up to our peers."
So whether we call it an American Party or simply a populist independent movement, it’s time for the Tea Party to rebrand, reorganize, and re-capture its standing as a credible alternative to our failed Establishment.