Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Yesterday's Primaries (UPDATE)

So Arlen Specter is out of the Senate after 30 years, Blanche Lincoln faces a run-off, and the Tea Party candidate in Kentucky gets the Republican nod. Oh, and the Republicans lost the special election to fill John Murtha's seat, even though they insisted they had it in the bag.

What does this mean. There are always competing narratives as to what this or that election means, and attempting to draw conclusions that have implications for a general election from a handful of spring primaries is always a dangerous thing. Yet, this merely confirms for me what I've been saying all along. With the Tea Party approved candidates set to be their party's standard-bearer in November, and the Democrats supporting insurgent candidates over establishment ones, it seems to me that both parties are (a) responding to grass-roots groups; and (b) poised to return large Democratic majorities to both houses of Congress. Particularly in the case of Republicans, while the Tea Party certainly makes a lot of noise and gets a lot of press, they have little support beyond their core constituency. I cannot imagine Kentucky electing the Republican candidate; with Pennsylvania having moved pretty firmly to become a Democratic-majority state, I think it's easy enough to predict Joe Sestak will be the next Senator from the Keystone State.

Unlike the Republicans, the Democratic insurgency is similar in many respects to the grass-roots movement that delivered the 2006 and 2008 victories. With candidates that are in touch with the broad mass of the electorate, far more willing to be confrontational that establishment Democrats and the President with their Republican colleagues, I think this bodes well for not just for the party this fall, but for the country and the next Congress.

UPDATE: Atrios nails it.
For those who are counting, that's 7 straight special elections won by Democrats. I'm sure the Republican wave will start building any minute now.

Like Broder's bit about Bush's comeback, I think we can all sit and have a drink as we wait for it.

Virtual Tin Cup

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