A recent report from The New York Times highlights the war being waged inside the Republican Party and sheds some light on what the primary season of the 2014 mid-term elections might look like. Since the 2010 Republican rout, insurgent Tea Party candidates have unseated long-term incumbents in surprisingly hostile election battles. In many cases due to gerrymandering, the primary election is the general election.
According to the report, fundraisers “representing the party establishment, like Karl Rove's American Crossroads, are struggling to bring in the level of cash they raised in 2012,” and feel their money was wasted. So over the last year, they have sent their dollars to the Tea Party and other political action committees that represent the extreme right.
While many threatened Republicans have simply left the party, some—such as Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell—have no option but to stay and fight it out. The Senate Conservative Fund, based in McConnell’s home state of Kentucky, and FreedomWorks are backing his primary challenger Matt Bevin, although the latter group misspelled his name—Matt Blevins—in a fundraising e-mail.
Essentially, what these challengers are attacking are the compromises made by these GOP incumbents and Democrats, such as the deals made to raise the debt ceiling or the more recent budget agreement. Often called Republicans-in-name-only, the desired strategy seems to be to cull these compromising losers and elect representatives and Senators who will engaging in a political fight where no quarter is either asked or given.
People such as Rep. Randy Weber of Texas who tweeted before the State of the Union, “On floor of house waitin on ‘Kommandant-In-Chef’[sic]... the Socialistic dictator who's been feeding US a line or is it ‘A-Lying?’" The underlying message being as mean-spirited as it is incoherent: President Obama (and, by extension, everyone he works with) are un-American, and no government at all would be better than working with them.
Like always, the balance of power in the government will come down to a few “hot” races that defy statistical expectation such as the Senate race in Kentucky. What remains to be seen is if the Democrats will be able to capitalize on GOP in-fighting or if