Photo of a Tea Party flag.
Christine O'Donnell may become the Tea Party candidate. CC by Ivy Dawned/Flickr

November 2010 is right around the corner. The upcoming elections are being closely watched to see if some Tea Party candidates actually can win a real election. Real momentum with voters has been attributed to a small Tea Party victory. Christine O’Donnell, a Tea Party darling, was chosen in the Republican primary over Michael Castle, a long serving Representative and former two-term governor, to run for the open seat in the United States Senate. The Tea Party, while popular in a grass roots setting, is viewed with a wary eye by senior government officials including many Republicans. Some believe that Tea Party types will only alienate people further and aren’t realistically going to accomplish anything.

There is no political party in the Tea Party

The Tea Party is a misleading name. Not only is there little to no actual lineage between it and the Boston Tea Party, it also is not a real political party. It is actually more of an interest group, and almost all of them are Republicans. The relationship is not dissimilar to other voting blocs within parties, such as the Democratic Freedom Caucus and the Log Cabin Republicans, which are for libertarian Democrats and LGBT rights-friendly Republicans, respectively. If the Tea Party group were to register as a political party, the next step would be the administration of the Last Rites. The most successful third party of all time was the Progressive Party of 1912, also called the Bull Moose Party. The Bull Moose candidate was a better candidate than Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin could be by light years, that candidate being Teddy Roosevelt. There hasn’t been a great performance from a third party since, in any national election of any sort. The next best third party after Nobel Laureate Teddy Roosevelt was George Wallace, who received the electoral college vote from five states in 1968, according to Wikipedia. His platform was to reinstitute segregation and repeal civil rights.

Primary in tiny state Delaware

The recent Delaware Republican Primary determined whether Christine O’Donnell or Michael Castle would be able to run for the U.S. Senate. Castle was Governor of Delaware for two terms, and a Representative from Delaware since 1993. O’Donnell is the Tea Party favorite but has never been elected to any office. That, however, did not deter voters, according to the New York Times. She won the primary by a margin of 57 percent to 43. That said, her inexperience was balanced out by something else. She was, after all, endorsed by Sarah Palin. A Palin endorsement is worth a candidate’s weight in gold. That said, Palin didn’t finish a single term while Governor of Alaska. Her tenure was also marred by ethical and legal investigations.

Results matter

So far, Tea Party candidates have not achieved success beyond primaries. November is when the elections are happening. Then the success of the Tea Party rallies will be known. Some members of the Republican party have expressed concern that Tea Party candidates lack sufficient experience and will alienate more voters than they can reach.

Sources

NY Times: http://nytimes.com/2010/09/16/us/politics/16elect.html?_r=1

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notable_third_party_performances_in_United_States_elections

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