Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sore Losers! Tea Party Blames The People They Drove Away For Loss

The St. Louis tea party leadership has been freaking out, blaming third party candidates for Ed Martin's loss to Congressman Russ Carnahan. Dana Loesch said she was "infuriated at third party foils." Bill Hennessy wrote the following about third party candidates:
In an election when America needed everyone to subdue personal ambition for the greater good, two egomaniacs ran against Ed Martin. These selfish people put themselves and their egos above the country. They are not American patriots; they’re weasels.
However, it seems to me that the election results tell a very clear story. In the Republican primary, corrupt Republican insider Ed Martin was running against a true grassroots conservative named John Wayne Tucker. However, the AstroTurf St. Louis tea party was in the bag for Martin from the beginning, blacklisting Tucker from their events and even personally attacked him. Dana Loesch, who's husband's business Shock City Studios was paid $5,000 by Ed Martin, went on a Twitter tirade against Tucker, despite never mentioning him previously while having Martin on as a guest multiple times.

Now for the interesting part: in the Republican primary, Ed Martin only won 63% of the vote, and John Wayne Tucker, despite being ignored by the St. Louis tea party, received 5,379 votes. Rusty Wallace, another Republican challenger, received 7478 votes. In that election, constitution party candidate Nicholas Ivanovich only received 277 votes, and Libertarian candidate Steven Hendrick only got 418. However, in the election yesterday, Hendrick got 5,757 votes and Ivanovich got 3,151.

In other words, it sure looks like the Tucker and Wallace supporters marginalized and insulted by the St. Louis Tea Party are precisely the people who decided that they would rather vote for a third party candidate than the Republican. Only 700 people voted for Ivanovich and Hendrick in the primary: nearly 9,000 voted for them over Ed Martin in the general election.

I think there are a couple of lessons to draw from this. First, the St. Louis tea party shot themselves in the foot by pretending to be a grassroots movement while supporting corrupt GOP operatives like Ed Martin and Roy Blunt. They turned off true conservatives by pretending to be one thing while actively working towards another. In a year where Russ Feingold and Ike Skelton lost, it's possible that a genuine conservative candidate would have outperformed sleaze-bag Martin at the polls. But the St. Louis tea party never let that happen, instead shutting down dissent in the primary.

Second, the tea party's personal attacks on anyone who disagreed with them likely pushed away voters who might otherwise have voted for the Republican candidate. Probably some people who were uncomfortable with Ed Martin's scandalous history might nevertheless have been willing to bite the bullet and vote for him, except for the fact that they were repeatedly insulted by the self-appointed leaders of the tea party. The tea party does not tolerate dissent, especially from other conservatives.

So in a wave election year where Republicans won races no one thought was possible, the St. Louis tea party really didn't accomplish anything. They lost to Congressman Carnahan. They lost to Charlie Dooley. And they lost their bid to protect puppy mill cruelty. Yet all they can do is scream and blame everyone else.


  1. Seems to me that we need to be smart winners, rare as it was this election, and look at the fact that this was a near miss. Figure that one out for OUR lesson learned. Lush Foliage

  2. I think as well, people (not wanting to vote for Carnahan, ie a Dem) did not to vote for a fringe person like Martin after seeing the lunacy Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell provided for the entertainment of the U.S. populace. While being conservative is one thing, the idea of fringe politicians in office is frightening to anyone.

  3. Completely agree. This is the first time I voted straight ticket for Dems because of the tea party... way to go guys

  4. I'm a conservative and I agree and disagree with some of your assessments. Some of the points you make are precisely why I have not become a "member" of any Tea Party. What started out as truly grassroots quickly got co-opted into something else as it organized. I don't know whether they're truly being run by bigger Republican/Conservative organizations and individuals.

    I also refused to vote for Roy Blunt and voted Constitution Party in that race. Chuck Purgason was the clear conservative voice in the primary but he was not given any support by the Tea Parties or Republicans. Instead, all support by both went to Roy Blunt because they knew Robin would win her primary. Fear and pragmatism of Robin drove the Tea Party to Roy. Nevermind that at least one poll I came across showed that Purgason could have done quite well against Mrs. Antolinez (She plays the game well too). Had the Republicans and Tea Party stuck with Purgason instead of backscratching Blunt, they could have made him electable, just as happened with Rubio in Florida.

    I also agree about the assessment that the third party candidates did not spoil Martin's race. That said, I'm not so sure that the numbers the other Republicans in MO3 got in the primary translated exactly to the third party candidates in the general. Less people always tend to vote in primaries than generals, so unless you can look at the exact voting records, it's a sketchy theory.

    I actually looked at the voting data of MO3 over the last ten years and gave what I feel is a much more balanced look.

    My assessment is that if the Republican/Conservative/Tea Party swell holds to 2012 just as the Democrat's 2006 had their 2008, Russ could very well be out. He better be counting his blessings he won and take that lesson to heart. While Ed didn't get enough votes, Russ was hemorraghing his own votes, and the turnout data proves it. If he continues to go down the road he's done over the last several years, it might be just enough to tip MO3 into the red.

    And then there's redistricting. Missouri could potentially lose a Congressional seat due to Census reapportionment. With the Republicans in power, it would not be surprising at all if they try to gerrymander MO1, MO3 and MO5 so as to give Republicans a better shot at winning in those districts. Think about that. If Russ, like Harry Reid (with smugness), takes his win this go round and runs with it, he's sure to lose next time.

    If you're going to look at the election results, really look at them.