There were primary elections in six states last night, and, unlike 2010 and 2012, Tea Party insurgents didn't knock out any establishment GOP incumbents. In most cases, it wasn't even close. The big story nationally was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell easily defeating his Tea Party challenger, Matt Bevin, by 25 percentage points in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. In Mississippi, Tea Partier Chris McDaniel lost his bid against so-called RINO Thad Cochran.
In fact, so far this year, not one incumbent in the House or Senate from either party has lost his or her bid for re-election (there are still plenty of primary elections to come). Yes, a lot of longtime members of Congress are departing this year, but that's because they've announced their retirements. But in fact, in 2014, not one standing member of Congress, not one, has lost. Please remember that the next time you read a poll about how unpopular Congress is.
But back to Kentucky. Why wouldn't Republican voters vote to re-elect McConnell? The problem the GOP has had in recent years was in supporting — well, let's be charitable and call them candidates with questionable credentials. Or did you forget Todd ("legitimate rape") Aiken, Richard Mourdock, Sharon Angle, Christine O'Donnell, to name just a few whose candidacies helped the Democrats maintain their edge in the Senate because those Tea Party insurgents simply weren't ready for prime time?
But the Tea Party has won anyway. Mitch McConnell hired Jesse Benton, Rand Paul's campaign manager, to run his re-election bid this year. And McConnell's values, as is the case with most of the Republican Party, are the Tea Party's values. They're anti-Obamacare, think the deficit is too big, and pretty much oppose everything Barack Obama proposes. So why not vote for the candidate who does represent where you're coming from and has a much better chance of winning a general election?
"When people ask where did the tea party go, the answer is: It went to Congress," says Grover Norquist, in a column written by the L.A. Times' Doyle Alexander. "Once there were Republicans who voted for tax increases, but they aren't here any more.… The Republican Party has largely absorbed the message of the tea party movement."
Yes they have. And if you believe in the values of the Tea Party, you have to be very happy this morning because of that. The GOP has incorporated those values, making them a more conservative party than they were in 2008. Some folks think that's a great thing; Democrats and independents would disagree.
In other news... In recent months, immigrant activist groups have pushed President Barack Obama to exercise executive authority to limit deportations. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced that his department would review its deportation policies to make them humane. Meanwhile a major new survey of immigrants who were granted temporary legal status says many have obtained their first jobs and are integrating into the country.
Let's face it: A lot of folks in Hillsborough County think the Public Transportation Commission should be put out of its misery, and not just because its rules make it harder for companies like Uber to thrive in Tampa. PTC Chairman Victor Crist isn't one of them.
And U.S. Postal Service workers don't like at all the recent plan to allow mini-Post Offices inside Staples stores throughout the country. They want folks to boycott the office supply chain.