If there is anything American politicians have pursued in 2014, it’s campaigning for November’s midterms. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for reelection, while 35 Senate seats will be contested. As the primary elections for November’s congressional midterms progress, political analysts are looking for clues as to whether voters will express their dissatisfaction with incumbent senators and representatives at the polls.
Early in the cycle — with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, and Speaker of the House John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, easily defeating their Tea Party rivals — it seemed the party had started to set the stage for what the GOP hoped would be a landslide victory in the coming elections.
Republicans wants to avoid the missteps made in 2010 and 2012, when Tea Party candidates like Sharron Angle in Nevada and Todd Akin in Missouri lost winnable races with weak campaigns and other errors. Despite the American public’s widespread dissatisfaction with Congress, voters have largely picked Republican candidates who have a better chance of winning in November: this is, incumbents who uphold the views of the establishment wing of the party.
Eric Cantor, the former House Majority Leader and Virginia representative, is the notable exception. But even Mississippi’s Thad Cochran, a six-term senator who faced a difficult runoff race against Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel, won. However, it is too simplistic to distill the election results into an argument for the imminent demise of the Tea Party.