ORIGINALLY POSTED ON THEBLAZE:
Even though Liberals and establishment Republicans have heard their voices and understand their message, it’s easy to say that the Tea Party has had a rocky start to this year’s primary cycle.
I am a strong conservative that tends to support Tea Party-leaning candidates and have given many speeches to Tea Party supporting groups. With that said, I’m sick of hearing Tea Party members saying that they will not support the “establishment candidate” after their candidate loses in the primary. An even bigger problem is “establishment Republicans” that say they will not support a candidate such as Dave Brat. It’s time for that rhetoric to end.
Every Senate race is important, but I want to touch on two races that help explain the big picture I’m trying to paint.
When Sen. Mitch McConnell beat Matt Bevin in the heated Kentucky primary, many Tea Party leaders (including Erick Erickson and Jenny Beth Martin) were quick and wise to throw their support behind Senator McConnell for the general election. Unfortunately, “many” is not going to be enough.
I took to Twitter to find Tea Party supporters who said they wouldn’t vote for Mitch McConnell. It was fairly easy to see that there were a large amount of people taking this approach. One Twitter user said: “Do not vote for Thad Cochran or Mitch McConnell in the general. Teach the GOP a lesson.”
Another user stated: “I might not vote for Mitch McConnell since the GOP has joined the black caucus in attacking true American patriots.”
Unfortunately, many more voters are of the same opinion and that could have a lasting effect on the outcome of the election. EvenFreedomWorks and Matt Bevin have yet to endorse Mitch McConnell.
According to the most recent poll done by Magellan Strategies, Mitch McConnell is down by three points. On the flip side, Wenzel Strategies has him ahead by three points. It’s safe to say this will be one of the closest elections in this year’s cycle and that Sen. McConnell needs all the support he can get.
Why, then, should a staunch Tea Party supporter support Mitch McConnell in this election?
It’s simple. The American Conservative Union gave Sen. Mitch McConnell a 90.16 percent conservative rating, while Heritage gave him a 76 percent rating in their annual reports.
Could he score higher? Yes, but he’s much better than the alternative. His opponent, Alison Grimes, has promised to raise the minimum wage, support gun control, move forward with Obamacare and is pro-choice under all circumstances. Her stance on abortion has resulted in an endorsement by the very liberal and pro-choice political action committee, Emily’s List.
Contrast that with the fact that Mitch McConnell has opposed raising the minimum wage 16 times,supports the Second Amendment and repealing Obamacare.
Kentucky residents, would you rather have a man who backs your individual rights or a woman who believes that Obamacare should be kept in place while supporting abortion?
The second example is the fight for North Carolina’s U.S. Senate seat.
Thom Tillis’ defeat over Greg Brannon may not have angered as many Tea Party supporters as McConnell’s primary victory, but many Tea Party supporters have similarly yet to stand behind Tillis.
Ironically enough, Tillis received a 100 percent conservative rating in 2012 from the American Conservative Union for his time as the North Carolina House Speaker. In 2013, his opponent, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, received a 10.6 percent conservative rating from the ACU and 4 percent from the Heritage Foundation.
Even after supporting Obamacare (among other many liberal policies) and defending a president whose approval ratings have sunk to all-time lows, she is still leading Tillis in every poll released thus far. The most recent poll, done by Civitas, has him down four points.
This election will be another extremely tight race that comes down to whether or not the Tea Party will fully back him. For someone who has a 100 percent conservative rating, there is no reason why he shouldn’t get their backing.
The Tea Party still has enough leverage and support to make or break an election on the Republican ticket. With such high stakes this year, it’s time for the movement (and the establishment) to back any Republican on the ballot this year, no matter if they are a Tea Party favorite or an establishment politician.
Dave Brat needs support from the Republican Party and moderates, while Lindsey Graham (88.01 percent conservative rating), Thad Cochran (barring the outcome of his primary election investigation with a 78.9 percent rating) and many other Republican candidates across the country need the Tea Party’s support this November.
Even if it takes choosing the lesser of two evils, it is time we take the U.S. Senate back and start turning this country around. If the Republican candidate on the ballot isn’t as conservative (or as moderate) as you wish, remember that keeping our House majority and electing a Republican majority in the Senate is the only hope we have to stopping President Barack Obama’s poisonous policies.
Email Benji Backer: [email protected]
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