Writing from the perspective of being a life long Republican, I thought I would pass on some facts on the Tea Party and the disaster they have provided to the party.
1. As the Tea Party activists are vehemently anti-Democratic, do not be mistaken, they are not Republicans either.
Even though the Tea Party activists will vote the Republicans ticket, they are also surprisingly negative about the party they are voting for! When asked if they considered themselves more Republican or more a Tea Party member, more than three-quarters chose Tea Party. Given this outlook it is not surprising that the activists also rate the party they vote for very poorly.
2. Tea Party activists aren’t nearly as concerned about winning.
They are significantly more concerned with ideological purity than with political pragmatism. In other words, the Tea Party cares more about what nominees believe than whether they can win and compromising on politics means compromising on principle. I like to refer to this as “The Political Faith.”
The findings help explain what’s happened in so many GOP primary races. Both nationally and at the state level, moderate GOP officeholders found themselves with primary challengers. The Tea Party has helped propel several upstart candidacies, like Christine O’Donnell’s infamous effort to win Delaware’s Senate seat or more recently, Richard Mourdock’s successful challenge to sitting Senator Dick Lugar. In both of those cases, and several others, the Tea Party candidate has proved too extreme for the general election and lost. That is why there are many within the Party are today concerned with this unelectable new direction.
3. Any attempt to bridge the gap between establishment Republicans and the Tea Party are doomed to fail.
The problem facing the Republican Party today is to keep the Tea Party in the fold while shifting things more to the center. After the dismal GOP performance in the 2012 elections, establishment figures began pushing back against the Tea Party.
Famous consultant Karl Rove announced a new political action committee designed to challenge extreme GOP candidates with more marketable ones. The national party even put out a report after the 2012 losses that pushed for more pragmatic candidates that could have a broader appeal but the gap between the two groups is huge.
Simply put, the GOP has been way too reliant on the Tea Party base but the Tea Party doesn’t care about the GOP or its fate. The Tea Party only cares about moving the political conversation increasingly towards the extreme, reactionary right of the Political Spectrum.