Ken Cuccinelli’s Loss Proves the Tea Party’s Influence is Waning Fast

Ken Cuccinelli's Loss Proves the Tea Party's Influence is Waning Fast
Ken Cuccinelli’s Loss Proves the Tea Party’s Influence is Waning Fast ( Photo credit: Donkey Hotey)

Last night’s election results were interesting. First New York City elected a progressive, Bill de Blasio as it’s next mayor. Hanging in the balance will be the NYPD’s controversial ‘stop-and-frisk’ policy, which CNN’s Don Lemon came under heavy fire for defending on the Tom Joyner Morning Show. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who seems to have a bullying problem, shellacked his Democratic opponent, who complained of party betrayal. Add the Virginia gubernatorial race to the mix, with left-leaning Terry McAuliffe’s win over Sen. Ted Cruz-backed Cuccinelli and you will see the Tea Party was pushed further back. Buh-bye Cooch.

I must also add, the black voters of Detroit stepped outside their comfort zone and elected the city’s first white mayor in 40 years — Mike Duggan.

Sheila Cockrel again: “He presented himself as a turnaround guy to a city desperate for a turnaround.”

Credentials, not charisma, carried Duggan to victory. Frustrated Detroit voters chose substance over style, stepping well outside their comfort zone in the same way fed-up Americans did in 2008 to make Barack Obama their first black president. Source: Detroit News

We know there will be a lot of finger-pointing and wrangling, for all the losers, particularly on the right, but one thing is crystal clear — the Tea Party was pushed back. We can’t celebrate too long because it was the long celebration after we elected the nation’s first black president in 2008 that led the Tea Party having big gains in the 2010 mid-term elections. We have to redouble our efforts to get them and their extremism out of Washington D.C.

Back to Virginia. Ken Cuccinelli’s loss reiterates my point that the Tea Party is on its way out. Even though you have the Koch Brothers and other big money backing these candidates, you can’t govern from an extremist position. Most Americans consider themselves moderate. The fact is, you can’t govern from the extreme right in a purple state like Virginia. Ken Cuccinelli also had another problem — right wingnut lieutenant gubernatorial candidate E. W. Jackson. That was a hot mess by itself. Some blame will be dished out to Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis, who split the Republican votes. The fact in, Ken Cuccinelli was hampered by the government shutdown engineered by Tea Party extremists. Virginia was adversely affected by this three-week shutdown and he couldn’t make headway with voters. Women also broke from the GOP in droves over continued slights by the party on women’s rights.

Turning our eyes to the 2016 presidential election, it is clear that the Tea Party won’t have such a big influence as it did in the 2010 mid-term elections and with good reason. The Republican Party is going through its own civil war right now.

The latest poll for Public Policy Polling shows:

There are massive ideological splits in who Republicans support. Among voters identifying as ‘very conservative’ Christie gets only 3%, with Cruz leading at 26% followed by Paul at 18%, Bush at 15%, and Ryan at 13%. But with moderates Christie and Cruz’s numbers are nearly flipped with Cruz getting only 5% to 36% for Christie, 18% for Bush, and 10% for Paul.

Hillary Clinton’s electability improved in the poll as well:

On the Democratic side Hillary Clinton continues to be dominant. 67% of primary voters want her to be the party standard bearer in 2016 to 12% for Joe Biden and 4% for Elizabeth Warren, with nobody else polling above 2%. Clinton has over 60% support from liberals, moderates, men, women, whites, African Americans, young voters, and seniors alike.

If Clinton didn’t run Biden would lead the field with 27% to 19% for Warren, 6% each for Cory Booker and Andrew Cuomo, 4% for Kirsten Gillibrand, and 3% for Martin O’Malley. Those numbers represent a pretty big shift from 6 months ago when Biden got 38% in a Clinton-less field to 13% for Cuomo and 10% for Warren. Warren’s on the rise and Biden’s on the decline.

Even Gov. Chris Christie’s win wasn’t a stinging referendum from voters that they favor the Republican Party. On the contrary. He win, despite all his faults, prove that he can work with Republicans and Democrats to get the job done. Just look at his bromance with President Obama after superstorm Sandy hit? That’s what voters want. Chris Christie found a way to woo key Democrats in New Jersey:

Charles Stile: “Christie’s bold leadership during Superstorm Sandy, the shrewd marketing of his Jersey tough guy persona and several important legislative accomplishments are indeed important factors in the strong support for his reelection. But while the public was seeing all of that, Christie discreetly and methodically courted Democrats with every lever of power at his disposal. By the end, many of those Democrats would supply the manpower, money or simply the photo ops for his campaign.”

I would venture to say, Chris Christie has given the GOP leadership on ultimatum for the 2016 presidential elections — do you want someone who can get the job done or do you want to pander to the right wing extremists and alienate the majority of Americans? My money is still on Hillary Clinton as the next president, but I would be a liar if I said, the Republican Party shouldn’t give Chris Christie a serious look as a possible presidential candidate.  Yeah, those pesky ethics problems will come up during the 2016 presidential election. That plus anything else that has been lurking in the background since then. We don’t need extremism in the White House. We need a moderate in the White House.

  • Dear Janet:

    What about your perspective caused you to focus more on the Tea Party than on DETROIT – from two angles?

    1) In listening to Peniel Joseph’s account of Black history DETROIT was to be the foundation of “Black Progressive Power” per their drive for power. What does their selection of a White mayor to clean things up mean?

    2) Why hasn’t PROGRESSIVE-FUNDAMENTALISM been challenged in Detroit, Cleveland, Newark, Philly and Memphis? After compelling Black people to invest in this uplift scheme yet failing – the Progressives seem to have unchallenged domination of these seats of power.


    It is NOT up to the “Republicans” to field a stronger candidate in these mission accomplished zones.

    It is up to the BLACK COMMUNITY – upon seeing the shortfall in their return on investment to LIMIT what they are compelled to VOTE FOR THAT IS NOT SOLVABLE BY VOTING and instead work to keep the confidence men from convincing them that if they vote they will fix the problem.