Many political observers announced the decline of the Tea Party, but that was just based on a majority of American’s unfavorable opinion of the hardline conservative activists — election results are showing something different.
Eric Cantor, the 2nd most powerful GOP member in the US House, was ousted in his party’s primary earlier this week and the Tea Party got all the credit. Ted Cruz’ Chief of Staff tweeted “Is DC Listening yet? #MakeDCListen” just minutes after Cantor’s defeat was announced.
That is a line the Senator has been using a lot lately, but his attempt to reshape Washington is inflicting havoc on the sustainability of his party back home in Texas.
Since Cruz’s raucous first year in the Senate he has become the Texas Tea Party’s top pick for President in 2016, but the state party continues to further isolate itself on an ideological island. With Ted Cruz as the new standard bearer for conservatism, any hint of compromise is suspicion enough for even the long time Republican faithful to have their authenticity challenged.
“The most common thing you hear as you travel the country is that people in Washington aren’t listening … something happens when folks get elected. They go to Washington, they drink the water and they stop listening,” Cruz said according to Roll Call.
Cruz himself is in the best possible position at the moment. As a freshman he can still fight Washington insiders without being called one, being in the Senate Minority allows him to take extreme positions without consequence, and he is only in year 2 of a 6 year term so he has plenty of time to adjust course if necessary.
Not having a reelection bid in 2016 allows him to run for President (will likely be seen as being drafted) and still win, even if he loses. That’s because if a more moderate nominee like Chris Christie or Jeb Bush emerges and loses, the Tea Party will again blame the RINOs for their unelectability.
You can follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.