It turned into an atrociously nasty runoff. The same crew who failed Governor Rick Perry’s Presidential bid has now also sunk David Dewhurst’s bid for the Senate and spent tens of millions of dollars in the process. Along the way they damaged Governor Perry’s credibility with the tea party and picked every scab possible to make Ted Cruz’s election as painful as possible.Who knows — maybe they’ll cut Dewhurst a deal on a gubernatorial bid in two years.Despite all the barbs and lies and dirty tricks, including phone calls to Cruz voters during yesterday’s primary telling them to vote today, Ted Cruz won.It is a very satisfying victory. Ted has spoken at every RedState Gathering and will be the first speaker at this year’s Gathering too. He will make a fine Senator.A lot of people are going to give lots of credit to lots of people for Ted Cruz’s win. Success has many fathers. A lot of people will also make a lot of wild claims about what it means for the GOP and its supposed radical drift right — a drift right that in 2010 saw it pick up more electoral victories than any time since the late 1800’s.One thing a lot of people will fail to comment on is that the Tea Party victories of 2010 have morphed into anti-establishment victories in 2012. On both the left and right, the base hates its leaders. It has moved beyond distrust to contempt.
In Georgia last night Republican voters across the state rejected Republican proposals for infrastructure taxes and spending and, in the process, threw out a number of incumbent Republicans in retribution. In Texas, several strong conservatives got the nod over candidates backed by Republican leaders. In Florida, Michigan, Tennessee, and Arizona, as the primaries get closer, voters are rallying to the outsiders, the real small government conservatives, and the people most likely to pick a fight with their own party.The media views these races as the “fringe” taking over. But the media has been and is as much a part of the problem as the people being thrown on the ash heap of history in these primaries. The media likes the “smart” guys who sit in the room and make deals. Voters increasingly want people to say not just “no” but “hell no.”Should Ted Cruz win the general election, and the odds are in his favor, he will join Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Pat Toomey, and Ron Johnson as yet another Senator who owed his nomination more to Jim DeMint than the Republican leaders in Congress.Already, as the sun rises this morning, there is a great game of co-opting happening. Republican leaders and conservative establishmentarians are already whispering that Ted is a “reasonable” and “smart” conservative. “He won’t be like Jim DeMint.”Ted Cruz established himself by being like Jim DeMint. He better remember that as the great fellating of his ego by Washington insiders begins. The Republicans in Washington aim to co-opt him, to pacify him, and to make him an ally in preservation of the status quo. They will use conservative editorialists, fundraisers, and others to do the dirty work. They will try to surround him with staff who can “tame” him and “show him the ropes.” They will push conservative think tankers on him who know the game and where their real allegiance is. They will try to undermine him while building him up.Washington insiders always try to bring outsiders to the inside. Jim DeMint remains a hero to the antiestablishment crowd because that crowd knows he won’t be bought off. Ted Cruz will, we can all hope and expect, be a Texas version of Jim DeMint, and not just another go along to get along Republican on the way past $16 trillion in debt.The message of this election is that the trend continues — the base is tired of politics and usual and back room compromises that keep growing government. The base wants Ted Cruz to fight.One parting point worth reiterating – the Perry-Dewhurst shared campaign team spent $50 million in the past year to ruin the reputations of Rick Perry and Ted Cruz. That’s just sad.