A Test For Tea Parties

Tuesday, all eyes will be on Illinois, Republicans will be looking for clues to determine how to run their general election campaigns.  Democrats will be looking for propaganda to convince their dwindling supporters that the hemorrhaging has stopped.  Everyone will be looking at the “tea party movement” in Illinois for an indication of its strength or weakness.

The left only has one page in its playbook for fighting its opposition, “demonize and destroy them”.  They will be looking to us for an opening.  The big race that will draw the most national attention and generate the most analysis and fodder for the talking heads is the U.S. Senate race.  The three candidates they will be closely watching are the liberal Mark Kirk, the untested Patrick Hughes and the conservative Don Lowery.

The Republican establishment has forgiven him his transgressions against Party principles in voting for TARP and Cap and Trade, and is backing Mark Kirk to win the nomination. They are counting on his backing from special interest groups, his name recognition, and his newly learned conservative rhetoric to win out in November against the Democratic nominee.

The conservative elite are backing Patrick Hughes.  He has endorsements from a large number of Republican moderates and even some conservatives who believe he is the one to beat Kirk.  His PR firm has managed to arrange interviews with talk radio hosts like Don Wade and Mark Levin.  Mark has endorsed him on the air, and as Mark is a favorite with constitution conservatives, his endorsement carries some weight.

Don Lowery is a low budget, unknown grassroots candidate who has a dedicated following among the tea parties, but little acknowledgement from the mass media or from conservative radio.  Both the Democrats and Republicans are hoping that Lowery and Hughes will split the conservative vote and give the nomination to Mark Kirk. That would be a real tragedy for the country and a major set back for the tea party movement.

To complicate the situation even further, it all boils down to principle.  Those whose core principle is based on constitutional limited government will vote for Lowery and those whose core principle is based on winning at any cost will vote for Hughes. I do not pretend to be an infallible prognosticator, but from my point of view there is no way Hughes can win and Lowery’s chances depend entirely on the tea partiers and 912ers.

Tuesday is going to be a major test for the young tea party movement and not just for Illinois. Its ramifications will be felt throughout the country. The test is whether the tea party movement can unite behind a single candidate within the next few days or, is the way to neutralize the movement to fragment it by running a number of viable conservative candidates in each election and splitting the conservative vote?  I will let you know Wednesday.

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