Sunday, August 19, 2012

Splitting the Tea Party vote

I was happy to see Tommy Thompson make it through the Republican primary in the race for Herb Kohl's old Senate seat. But it's clear that Tommy did not win because the Wisconsin’s Republican Party has become more pragmatic and moderate. Tommy won because businessman, Eric Hovde and perennial candidate, Mark Neumann split the vote of the most conservative Republicans.
Over 60 percent of people who voted in the Republican primary voted for somebody besides Tommy. Tommy, one of the biggest names in Wisconsin politics since the 1990s and a one-time presidential candidate, eked out political newcomer Hovde by less than 20,000 votes.
So I'm not optimistic about the GOP in Wisconsin moderating anytime in the future. Should Tommy beat Democratic candidate, Tammy Baldwin in November, conservatives will claim it was his name-recognition, not his moderate disposition that led him to victory. Should Tommy lose, Republicans will only be more resolute to nominate "real" (meaning radical) conservatives in the future.

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