Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 20, 2014

Why This Year’s Primaries Won’t End GOP Civil War

tillis 018 050414 445x296 Why This Year’s Primaries Won’t End GOP Civil War

Tillis is the GOP nominee in North Carolina. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call)

The Republican establishment is fighting back, but winning a few primaries this year won’t do much to end the insurgency from party purists. It only takes one general election loss by an establishment candidate to reignite the fire.

Observers see what they want to see in the results, and they can be blinded by their preconceptions and personal preferences.

For example, state Speaker Thom Tillis won the GOP nomination in North Carolina on Tuesday. But if he loses to Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in November, anti-establishment Republicans will cry, “See, I told you so.”

“If only we had nominated Greg Brannon,” they will argue. Or, “If we had only nominated Mark Harris, then we would have won the seat.” It doesn’t matter if that is actually true or not, it’s what “constitutional conservatives” will believe, and it will lead them to redouble their efforts for the anti-establishment cause.

The same dynamic would likely result if GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy loses to Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu in Louisiana or, to a greater extent, if Minority Leader Mitch McConnell loses re-election in Kentucky. On a national level, the “I told you so” comes up each time an establishment Republican presidential candidate doesn’t get to the Oval Office.

The lessons learned from races are often more important than the actual results. For example, Republicans believe that talking about the Affordable Care Act allowed Republican Ken Cuccinelli to close the gap with Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the 2013 gubernatorial race. It doesn’t necessarily matter whether that is actually true or not, but that belief guided some strategic decisions on the Republican side this year.

This phenomenon isn’t unique to the Republican Party. Democrats went through a similar fight between the Democratic Leadership Council and organized labor. And Democrats could face another divide in the not-too-distant future with a more populist wing being frustrated with a “corporate wing” of the party.

So even though Tillis was victorious on Tuesday and McConnell is heavy favorite on May 20, establishment candidates must be victorious in November in order to take some of the air out of the insurgency balloon.

  • cooldela1966

    I believe Brannon would have been North Carolina’s next US Senator if not for the jury decision.

  • YONATAN C

    It’s been an ongoing struggle, and fight, for the 2.6 million unemployed workers in this country, who have been without unemployment benefits, since late last December. Over the past five months, these families have had to endure evictions, home foreclosures, personal bankruptcy, and homelessness, while waiting for the senate to pass the unemployment extension bill. The unemployment extension bill, has been held hostage, by the republican senate, as a political leverage tool, to get the XL Pipeline bill passed by the president. Clearly the republican’s focus is on making sure their lobbyist’s best interests are being represented. It’s sad that their total disregard for the plight of these poor unemployed families, have taken a backseat in their political agenda. While these republican senators continue to postpone, and delay voting on the bill, more and more families have seen their lives destroyed financially. These families need HELP NOW. The republicans have done themselves a great disservice by not passing the extension bill. This bill affects more than 2.6 million unemployed workers, who will vote against their party in the coming elections. These people will NOT FORGET.

  • YONATAN C

    It’s been an ongoing struggle, and fight, for the 2.6 million unemployed workers in this country, who have been without unemployment benefits, since late last December. Over the past five months, these families have had to endure evictions, home foreclosures, personal bankruptcy, and homelessness, while waiting for the senate to pass the unemployment extension bill. The unemployment extension bill, has been held hostage, by the republican senate, as a political leverage tool, to get the XL Pipeline bill passed by the president. Clearly the republican’s focus is on making sure their lobbyist’s best interests are being represented. It’s sad that their total disregard for the plight of these poor unemployed families, have taken a backseat in their political agenda. While these republican senators continue to postpone, and delay voting on the bill, more and more families have seen their lives destroyed financially. These families need HELP NOW. The republicans have done themselves a great disservice by not passing the extension bill. This bill affects more than 2.6 million unemployed workers, who will vote against their party in the coming elections. These people will NOT FORGET.

  • Raymon555

    Don’t waste your time at trading forums to learn to trade these places are no good, I learned my lesson the hard way. Go over to the website Traders Superstore I recently found them purchase their courses and now I’m learning to trade for myself and finding it’s nowhere near as hard as I thought it was. The guy there showing how to make $500 a day through a very simple technique he developed which works! I know because I’m doing it myself, takes a little practice but if I can do it anybody can.

  • Hans Olo

    The notion that liberty implies “freedom from obstacles” and the “power to do what one wants” is perhaps its most dangerous confusion.

  • Jack Everett

    Get rid of all the Benghazi pig that are doing nothing but campaigning for money off the backs of our fallen public servants.

  • Mr. Sequel

    Although some claim that the majority should always have the right to choose its own powers, the liberty school recognizes that the collectivist superstitions which most threaten liberty tend to arise when people are suffering.

  • Lister Eane

    Each of us should keep in mind that the most common illusions conjured up to justify collectivism include “social justice”, “fair” income distribution, and “global warming”.

  • YONATAN C

    SHAME OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY FOR NOT CARING ABOUT THE POOR AND UNEMPLOYED IN OUR COUNTRY. THERE ARE FAMILIES LIVING IN THEIR VEHICLES AND ON THE STREET, SINCE LAST DECEMBER WHEN THE REPUBLICAN SENATE REJECTED THE UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENSION BILL. OVER THE PAST SIX MONTHS, MORE AND MORE FAMILIES ARE FACING EVICTIONS, HOME FORECLOSURES, BANKRUPTCY, AND HOMELESSNESS, WHILE THE REPUBLICANS CONTINUE HOLDING THE BILL “HOSTAGE” IN THE SENATE. THEY HAVE USED THESE 2.6 MILLION FAMILIES FOR POLITICAL LEVERAGE TO FURTHER THEIR PARTY’S POLITICAL AGENDA. THEY ARE MORE CONCERN WITH PLEASING THE KOCH BROTHERS THAN THE 99 PERCENT OF THE REST OF US AMERICANS. THEY HAVE CLEARLY SHOWN US JUST WHERE THE COMMON MAN FITS IN THEIR POLITICAL SCHEME OF THINGS. IF YOU HAVEN’T FIGURED IT OUT YET, WE FIT AT THE VERY BOTTOM OF THEIR LIST. THE REPUBLICAN SENATE ARE A BUNCH OF SELF RIGHTEOUS, SELF PROMOTING, EGOTISTICAL, CAREER POLITICIANS, WHO DO NOT DESERVE OUR VOTE OR SUPPORT IN THE FUTURE. THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU OR ME, OR YOUR FAMILY.

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...