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US View: Reactions to Tea Party poll success

Matthew Davis | 13:53 UK time, Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Christine O'Donnell


Commentators react to the conservative Tea Party movement's several victories over mainstream US Republicans in primary contests ahead of November's mid-term elections.

Jonathan Martin writes in Politico that he thinks the result will not please the Republican party:

"Christine O'Donnell's surprise victory in the Delaware Senate GOP primary Tuesday left Republicans in conflict, senior party officials openly fretting that the Senate is now out of reach and Democrats overjoyed that the opposition has handed them a late and desperately needed chance to reframe the national argument about the 2010 elections."

In the Washington Post Dan Balz argues the result signifies a change in the feeling amongst the electorate:


"O'Donnell is viewed as a far weaker candidate, and Democrats say she is too conservative for the state. But her victory was a reminder of the unpredictable forces at work in politics this year and the power and energy of the antiestablishment sentiment among voters nationwide that could be aimed at Democrats."


Matthew Yglesias says in the Daily Beast that this is a victory for attention seekers:

"The upset in Delaware is the latest sign of a conservative civil war between work horses and show horses. [...]
"Tuesday night's primary results, especially in Delaware, highlight the fact that this hyper-mobilization of the far right is a double-edged sword that's at least as likely to hurt the GOP as to help it."


In the New York Times Nate Silver plays down the significance of the Tea Party victories:

"To some extent, the Republicans' problem is nothing new. Parties often face a trade-off between nominating more extreme candidates, who may have more appeal to the party base, and more moderate ones who may have greater appeal to independents. Arguably, it is a decent problem to have; at least the Republicans know their voters are fired up about something (it's just a question of whether it might be harnessed in quite the right way), which is less certain for the Democrats."

In Time magazine Mark Halperin says this marks a change in energy in the Republican party:


"You can draw a straight line between the weakness of the Republican Party after Barack Obama's smashing 2008 victory and Tuesday night's victory for Christine O'Donnell over Mike Castle in Delaware's Republican Senate primary. [...]
"The activism and patriotism of the Tea Partiers are admirable, but the GOP has put itself at risk long term."


Chris Good at the Atlantic argues this win is all the more significant given Christine O'Donnell's background:

"After intense scrutiny over the past few weeks, the result of this election, although it's one Senate primary in a small state, will resonate throughout the political world as a sign of the times - proof that conservatives and Tea Partiers really are a powerful bloc of voters in the present Republican electorate, and that the Tea Party movement in particular has succeeded in steering the party drastically to the right on its core issues.
"How this will play in November is anybody's guess. [...]
"What makes this so amazing is that O'Donnell won despite being, on paper, a deeply flawed candidate. She brought a laundry list of past financial issues with her into this race, most of which were already public in the Delaware media."

Links in full

Jonathan Martin | Politico | Christine O'Donnell defeats Rep. Mike Castle
Dan Balz | Washington Post | Christine O'Donnell beats Rep. Mike Castle
Matthew Yglesias | Daily Beast | The Right's Self-Inflicted Wound
Nate Silver | New York Times | Voters deliver a reminder to Republics (and Pundits)
Mark Halperin | Time | What O'Donnell's Win Means
Chris Good | Atlantic | O'Donnell Wins in Delaware


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