Tea Party victories show seismic shift in US politics

Wednesday, November 3, 2010
By Paul Martin

Marco Rubio and Rand Paul’s triumphs confirm movement’s coming of age, despite embarrassing defeats elsewhere

Ed Pilkington
Wednesday 3 November,2010

‘We’ve come to take our government back,’ says Tea Party favourite Rand Paul after beating Democrat Jack Conway in the race for a Kentucky Senate seat Link to this video The Tea Party movement last night wielded a huge impact on the American political process that will ensure its influence for years to come, though it also suffered setbacks to its wilder fringes.

The two big victories of the night, Marco Rubio in Florida and Rand Paul in Kentucky, confirmed that the Tea Parties are not a fly-by-night affair but a real seismic shift in the political landscape that can put fear in the hearts of Republican and Democratic leaders alike. Both victors unseated establishment Republican candidates with the help of populist Tea Party backing, signifying a general push towards the right within US conservatism.

But there were also signs that the leaders of the movement – to the extent that the amorphous, bottom-up Tea Parties have leaders – will have to think carefully about how they chose their candidates after two major figures, Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and and Carl Paladino in New York state, went down to embarrassing defeats.

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