$1.6 million – that is the amount spent, according to the National Journal by Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, to defeat the Tea Party in North Carolina’s Republican Senate primary.
$1 million more was spent by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to back the establishment candidate, Thom Tillis, over the Tea Party.
That is $2.6 million used by the establishment GOP against their own base in a Republican primary.
That is $2.6 million that will not be used in the Tar Heel state’s general election.
That is $2.6 million that will not be used against Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan.
Let that sink in.
Now consider that in Virginia’s most recent gubernatorial election, Tea Party candidate, Ken Cuccinelli, lost a close race to long-time Democratic insider, Terry McAuliffe – a race in which he was both substantially outspent by Democrats and notably underfunded by the RNC.
According to Politico, the “Republican National Committee spent about $3 million on Virginia this year, compared to $9 million (for Bob McDonnell) in the 2009 governor’s race [while the] Chamber of Commerce spent $1 million boosting McDonnell in 2009 and none this time.”
Yet, despite the sizable lack of support for Cuccinelli from the Republican establishment, McAuliffe, even after heavily outspending his opponent by many many millions, only won by a relatively narrow margin.
The $2.6 million spent against the Tea Party in North Carolina may have made the difference against McAuliffe in Virginia.
Nevertheless, the establishment GOP maintains that the Tea Party cannot win.
The establishment GOP’s choice of who and which race to fund seems to be sending out a clear message: Tea Party members need not apply (but, please vote for us in the general election).
While it is often said that winning heals all wounds (see Joe Trippi’s recent comment in the video above), this deeply-rooted political adage is not a true panacea.
Because winning is, at best, only temporary. Inevitably and invariably, every party loses at one point or another. So, it is not by mere coincidence or pure ideology that the Democratic Party keeps moving the United States left.
Democrats, in part because they understand the importance of a motivated base, purposefully drive their party toward their political base. Examples of these left-leaning shifts are abound.
Gay marriage is now more mainstream. Environmental fanaticism has become ingrained in policy from wasting millions on Solyndra to blocking the Keystone Pipeline. Freedom of religion is growing ever closer to becoming complete freedom from religion and the list goes on from immigration to drugs, etc.
Meanwhile, establishment Republicans are essentially pushing away from their base, away from the Tea Party – which is effectively away from concrete spending decreases (see Paul Ryan’s recent budget proposal with spending allowances today in exchange for potential decreases tomorrow), away from meaningful opposition to an imperial president, away from real immigration enforcement, etc.
In so doing, the establishment GOP is helping Democrats twofold – first, by further energizing the left, and second, by simultaneously discouraging the right.
While winning may heal some differences temporarily, the way to consistently win elections is not through division, but through unity.
Indeed, the establishment GOP would do better to remember John Dickinson’s American maxim, “by uniting we stand, by dividing we fall!”