There’s a race for the Republican Senate nomination in Mississippi, and it has turned out to be a surprisingly revealing contest. While Thad Cochran, the genteel six-term incumbent, goes about his normal business of bringing home the bacon and cutting ribbons, his Tea Party opponent, Chris McDaniel, has managed in just a few sentences to define what the Tea Party represents.
Speaking at a gathering of cattlemen, Mr. McDaniel said this:
“Millions in this country feel like strangers in this land. You recognize that, don’t you? An older America is passing away. A newer America is rising to take its place. We recoil from that culture. It’s foreign to us. It’s offensive to us.”
And there you have it. A new America is indeed rising: less white, less rural less socially conservative, less religious; a new America that supports legalized marijuana and comprehensive immigration reform and same-sex marriage. The Tea Party loathes this new America. But there’s nothing the Tea Party can do to stop it.
The Tea Party can damage the Republican Party; indeed, it has already done so. Had it not been for unelectable Tea Party senatorial nominees in 2010 and 2012, Mitch McConnell would already be at or near a Republican senatorial majority. Had it not been for Tea Party opposition, candidates for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination might have been able to come up with a better immigration stance than “self-deportation.”
What the Tea Party cannot do is repeal the laws of demography. All it can to do is yell “No” as its members and beliefs slowly fade away.
My biggest concern is that Washington is signaling to Russia that it’s OK to meddle in the politics of sovereign nations which are your neighbors. Meddling is going on from Paris to Ukraine, from east to west and north to south, within Europe and at its borders, and always with the intent of undermining the credibility and effectiveness of democratic institutions. And it is being either denied or downplayed.