Mitch McConnell clobbered his Tea Party opponent last night, as did GOP candidates in lower-profile races elsewhere. Not only have Tea Party candidates been unable to unseat any incumbents this year, "its candidates really haven't come close," observes Jaime Fuller at the Washington Post. So is the end near for Tea Partiers? "It sure is looking that way," writes Rick Sanchez at Fox News. Sanchez himself loved the original Tea Party platform emphasizing small government and individual responsibility, but since then the movement "has allowed itself to be branded as anti-women, anti-gay, anti-Hispanic, anti-science, and anti-youth." Any reform efforts now may be too late.
At the Guardian, however, Ana Marie Cox writes that such eulogies are missing a bigger point: "The Tea Party will achieve in electoral death what it could never achieve in life: lasting control of the GOP agenda." Republicans are moving further to the right under Tea Party pressure, so much so that two political scientists say the GOP is more conservative now than at any point in the last century. "McConnell's win fits nicely into a narrative of declining Tea Party influence," writes Cox. "Yet the reality is that the Tea Party has won, even if their candidate didn't." Click for her full column, or for Fuller's or Sanchez's.