Ken Connor

It has been said that success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan. Not so in the current political milieu. As the GOP continues its march towards irrelevance, the finger pointing and blame games continue in earnest. Depending on who you ask, the Tea Party is either the problem or the solution. The same might be said of the Republican establishment. Either way, things aren't looking good for the Grand Old Party, and if something doesn't change – and soon – America's two party system might just go the way of the rotary telephone.

Ken Cuccinelli's loss to Terry McAuliffe in Virginia's recent gubernatorial election has come to symbolize the fracture threatening to break the back of the Republican Party. Establishment Republicans pin the blame for the loss squarely on the Tea Party. If Bill Bolling had been the candidate, McAuliffe wouldn't have won. Tea Party forces manipulated the nomination process to ensure the selection of a candidate who didn't stand a chance of carrying Northern Virginia. In the name of principle they gave the race away. The Tea Party, for their part, blames the Republican establishment for short-changing Cuccinelli financially, denying him the critical monetary resources necessary to compete with the McAuliffe campaign's deep pockets.

This same scenario is playing out at both the state and national level all across the country. Tea Party purists, tired of the incestuous dysfunction of Beltway politics, are challenging establishment incumbents in safely Republican districts. They are passionate, committed, and determined, and they aren't going away. They see everything they love about their country under attack and they want representatives who are serious about fighting back. They want more Ted Cruz's and fewer John McCain's. They are wary of anyone who claims the "moderate" mantle because they've come to view it as code for accommodation and spinelessness. They believe that there are too many incumbent RINOs in Washington who've grown fat and comfortable ruling over their political fiefdoms, and whatever principles they had were long ago abandoned in exchange for personal security and political gain.


Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.