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The Blue & Gray Press | December 17, 2017

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Opposing Viewpoints: GOP shakeup good for party

On Wednesday, the Republican Party received another jolt of growing pains with the announcement that in the Deleware Senate race, Christine O’Donnell, a Tea Party candidate, upset Mike Castle, a centrist Republican endorsed by party leaders.

This was not a particularly close race either. O’Donnell defeated Castle 53.1 percent to 46.9 percent.

More than anything, this dramatic upset symbolizes what the Republican party will now face; an inconvenient political makeover in the middle of election season.

If Republicans do not acknowledge the internal struggle and unite their party under one platform, they will hurt their chances of significantly increasing their congressional seats.

Since the Bush administration’s  Republican platform was rejected almost two years ago, the main Republican identity has been one that we see for every minority party in Congress; they flatly refuse to work with the party in power.

However, these tactics will no longer work.

Opposition candidates, funded by Tea Party think tanks, rose from obscurity and are breaking up the existing politics-as-usual mentality.

Republican banter has become increasingly more conservative than it had before, in an attempt to keep their conservative base. This is not only because the Democrats are in power.

Even famously moderate Republicans, like John McCain, had to step up their rhetoric and change with the times.

In politics, that is not unusual, but this is now about to occur on a wide scale in the GOP.

With several Tea Party upsets, it is clear that part of the political base is upset with their fellow Republicans, and these primary upsets (which are now up to seven) are a message to clean the house.

Yet even as the Tea Party’s momentum picks up speed, it is already hitting some bumps.

First and foremost, it is unrealistic to expect the new Tea Party candidates to win most of their political races.

Even the party officials grudgingly admit they’ve lost a few seats, like the North Dakota Senate seat, because of such hard-line candidates.

Another example is Nevada, where Harry Reid (D-Nev) has quietly turned an impeding defeat into a probable victory. His Tea Party opponent, Sharron Angle, has proven too extreme for most voters.

The other main obstacle is internal strife with other Republicans.

House Minority Leader, John Boehner (Ohio-8), with his views on tax cuts, is a potentially powerful enemy to a grassroots radicalization of the GOP.

As a well-enterenched establishment candidate, Boehner is the very type of Republican the Tea Party is trying to throw out of office.

The moderate section of the Party believes, as Karl Rove has bluntly stated, “Tea Party candidates aren’t electable.”

This reality check may be painful for the far right in November.

That is small comfort for Republicans who have lost their primaries to extremist canditates. By this time, the Tea Party is used to long shots.

When it comes to political mobilization, Tea Party candidates are like neo-conservative Bolsheviks: a small, yet militant minority that is efficient at spreading its message to the larger, more lackluster majority.

If the rest of the Republican Party doesn’t voice its disapproval soon, they must forever hold their peace.

Changes need to be made to the future of the Republican Party.
Like it or not, the Tea Party is here to stay until, at least, November. Up to then, they will remain a fairly energizing, if radical, influence on the party platform.

It is unlikely it will move the entire party platform as far right as they would like, so the Tea Party will have to compromise on some issues with the moderates Republicans.

Republican officials have stated that a majority in the House is their first priority, so now is when Republicans need a united party platform the most.