ElectionWatch 2014: Setback in Tennessee

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On Thursday, August 7, longtime Tennessee Senator and establishment Republican Lamar Alexander cruised to victory over Tea Party challenger Joe Carr in the state’s primary election. This is undeniably a setback for the Tea Party movement at the national level, although not such an utter failure for that movement as the mainstream media would like us to believe. As Paul Harvey used to say, “You know what the news is. In a minute, you’re going to hear the rrrrest of the story!”

So here’s “the rest of the story.” Yes, Lamar did win his party’s nomination for another Senate term, but he did so with only 49 percent of the popular vote–the lowest winning percentage for any Republican Senatorial candidate in Tennessee history. Furthermore, his challenger, Joe Carr, received a very respectable 40 percent of the vote–the largest percentage for any Republican challenger to an incumbent Senator of his own party in the history of Tennessee. If Tennessee’s primary election laws were the same as those in Mississippi, requiring a candidate to receive at least 50 percent of the popular vote to secure the nomination, Lamar would currently be in the same position as Tea Party rising star Chris McDaniel was after June 3, and he and Carr would now be headed to a runoff election. Additionally, if you look at the polls for Lamar and Carr taken over the past year and a half leading up to this primary election, you’ll find that Lamar’s popularity has been steadily declining over time while Carr’s popularity has been just as steadily growing. In fact, just a year and a half ago, Carr was barely even considered a serious candidate for the Senate primary. If current trends continue, and Carr runs again in 2020, he’ll probably win easily. And then there was the wild card factor of four lesser-known candidates who also ran in this election, taking 11 percent of the votes away from the two leading candidates, which particularly hurt Carr. Hypothetically speaking, if all those who voted for one of these lesser-known candidates had voted for Carr instead, he would have won the election with 51 percent of the vote.

All of this goes to show that the Tea Party movement continues to grow steadily in strength and numbers, while the popularity of the corrupt Washington establishment just as steadily continues to wane. It’s important to keep the reality of these trends in mind as we move closer to the upcoming general elections this November, especially when we face a setback or two in the primaries. We’re not going to win every single contest with our establishment opponents, certainly not even in the general elections, and we’re not going to take down the establishment overnight. But the momentum is on our side, and the establishment is slowly but surely losing control of national politics and public opinion. The future of our country belongs to the Tea Party movement and to all Americans who share its ideals of Christian faith and morals, traditional family values, human rights and liberty, and Constitutionally limited government in accord with the intentions of the Founders.

Justin Soutar is an American Catholic author who writes from Virginia about his faith, pro-life issues, religious liberty, history, politics, science, and other interesting topics. His book America’s Back-Door Enemy (Tate Publishing, 2009) discusses terrorism from a Catholic perspective. His next book will be about Mother Teresa and the Bengali refugee crisis of 1971. Follow Justin on Twitter at twitter.com/justinsoutar, and check out his blog at http://justins-corner.blogspot.com.

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