(Newsweek) Before a no-name Tea Party challenger shocked Washington by defeating the second-ranking House Republican, Eric Cantor, the conventional wisdom was that the Tea Party's bid to take over the Republican Party is floundering. The current Senate primary season offers plenty of evidence to support that view. With a small number of exceptions, Republican incumbents and establishment primary candidates have bested their Tea Party challengers.
Over the past six weeks, Tea Party candidates came up short in Senate primaries in North Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia and Oregon. Tea Party candidates scored wins in Texas in May, and a Tea Party candidate may well triumph in a June runoff for the Mississippi Senate primary. But its list of victories is much shorter than the GOP establishment's; after all, Cantor lost to a Tea Party challenger the same night establishment Senator Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, sailed past six challengers to win his primary.
The press declared the Tea Party got its comeuppance. "GOP Establishment Strikes Back," U.S. News & World Report announced on May 20 after a string of Tea Party defeats. "It appears they've finally quelled the intra-party insurgency."
Advertisement - story continues below
Today only, WND readers can get a hardcover copy of Richard Viguerie's "Takeover: The 100-Year War for the Soul of the GOP and How Conservatives Can Finally Win It" for just $4.95 – an astounding $23 discount off the $27.95 price!
"Payback time: GOP incumbents learn how to win," echoed Politico.
Not so fast. The victories for old-school Republicans are only half the story. The Tea Party may not be racking up many primary wins this year, but primary wins may no longer be the best metric of success.