Tea Party Influence Within the GOP Led to Richard Lugar's Defeat


Senator Richard Lugar's loss in Indiana marks another example of how the old guard is changing within the GOP, and is being replaced by a younger generation of more idealistic members. This also brings to light the fact that the Tea Party is still active and affecting elections across the country, even though we are hearing less and less about the role of the Tea Party in the press. Lugar's loss makes it clear that the Tea Party is still going strong and will play a key role in the November 2012 elections.

As we hear about how Lugar lost because he was, "part of the establishment" and "not a conservative," it really makes you start to wonder what is going on here. The American Conservative Union gave Lugar a lifetime rating of 77, but today that is not good enough. The Tea Party demands someone who will not compromise with Democrats. It's not that Lugar was not conservative, it's that he was willing to make a deal with Democrats (the Devil in the Tea Party's eyes).

When you dig into it, this really isn't surprising. Lugar is part of the silent generation, who are known for their consensus leadership style (take John McCain for example). Lugar is being replaced by Richard Mourdock who is part of the baby boomer generation. Baby boomers are much more idealistic, and they love taking an "it's my way or the highway" kind of approach. Indeed the bulk of the Tea Party is made up of baby boomers; this should come as no real surprise if you follow Strauss-Howe generational theory.

In my view, Lugar's election just further divides Congress and makes items such as entitlement reform and tax reform much more unlikely. The Tea Party's single-minded approach does not work with a split Congress. The only chance of this being a good thing is to have Congress controlled by one party and the executive branch controlled by the other. Maybe we will get that in November, maybe we won't. In either case, the Tea Party is still working behind the scenes, and they are making a difference. Whether or not that is a good thing is yet to be seen.