PHILLIPS: The year of the tea party

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Last week in Mississippi, the tea party did the impossible. Tea party insurgent candidate Chris McDaniel received more votes than long-time incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran. McDaniel fought and beat not only a living legend in Mississippi politics but also the most powerful political machine in Mississippi.

Three weeks from now there will be a runoff.

But on Tuesday, the tea party could score its most impressive win of the year.

Who is on the endangered species list? House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Cantor’s future is in serious doubt.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., and GOP leaders face reporters, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, after a weekly House Republican Conference meeting. The Republicans tied the recent stagnant employment reports to the policies of President Barack Obama and Democratic lawmakers.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., and GOP leaders face reporters, ... more >

Two years ago, he crushed a challenger, 79 percent to 21 percent. This year, he is struggling. A poll released this week by the Daily Caller showed Cantor leading his Tea Party challenger, conservative economics professor Dave Brat, 40 percent to 28 percent among those who had firmly decided. Twelve percent said they were leaning towards Cantor, while 11 percent were leaning towards Brat, and 9 percent are undecided.

Cantor has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not over a million against Brat. Cantor has called in his allies such as the American Chemical Society that spent $300,000 in independent expenditures supporting him.

Brat, at last report, only had $42,000 in the bank and hasn’t been able to afford to go on the air.

Brat has had some high-power help. Ann Coulter endorsed him, as did talk show host Laura Ingraham. Ingraham came down this week and hosted an event for him.

In May, tea party activists voted out Cantor’s hand-picked candidate in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District Republican Convention ,and Cantor himself was booed off the stage.

A few years ago, Cantor was regarded by many as a solid conservative. Today, the conservative movement views him as a sellout to the establishment. While conservatives overwhelmingly oppose immigration amnesty, Cantor is leading the establishment’s version of Pickett’s charge to pass amnesty.

Since Republicans are choosing their nominee for the U.S. Senate race in a convention Saturday, Cantor’s race is the top race on the ballot. In political terms, this is going to be a strictly get-out-the-vote operation.

The winner of Tuesday’s primary is likely going to be the winner of the general election in November, since no Democrat qualified to run against the Republican nominee.

Dave Brat is literally the David against Goliath candidate.

This race is up in the air, but if Dave Brat can defeat Eric Cantor on Tuesday, it will be convincing proof that the people still control the electoral process, not wealthy special interests.

About the Author
Judson Phillips

Judson Phillips

Judson Phillips is the founder of Tea Party Nation, one of the largest Tea Party Groups in the country and the number one national tea party site on the Internet.

A lawyer by profession, Judson has been involved in politics since his teens. “Ronald Reagan inspired me,” he says.

Judson became involved in the Tea Party movement in ...

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