By David Keil
In the local and special-congressional elections yesterday, a liberal won big in NYC; a non-Tea-Party Republican won in NJ; a former labor official won in Boston; and a Tea-Party challenge lost in Alabama.
The NY Times’ story on Alabama reported that an extreme-right candidate, Young, lost to a standard right-winger, Byrne, backed by the NRA, Chambers of Commerce, etc.
Young’s appeal was said to be in part his challenge to the Republican “establishment,” the Times reported. “Mr. Young said in his concession speech that he was considering forming a national organization. ‘This is the first warning shot that goes out across the nation,’ he said. … Mr. Young lamented the ‘end of a Western Christian empire.’”
On one side, voters and big Republican money may be rejecting what are called the crazies of the Tea Party. The other side, the Tea Party has since 2009 been effective in helping moved the entire capitalist political spectrum very far to the right, to the point where a Democratic President has joined with Republican hawks to try to wage war in Syria.
Obama has also been forced to go on the defensive for a flawed health plan that is in effect a Republican and insurance-industry artifact, despite its advances in a good direction and its implicit acknowledgement of the human right to health care. (See the Socialist Party co-chair’s statement on the government shutdown over the Affordable Care Act.)
It seems possible that Tea Party elements, and the billionaires who fund them, will continue their noisy activism and their populist-tinted challenge to the Republican mainstream, possibly even launching separate initiatives as Mr. Young said he might do. The reference to a “Western Christian empire” points toward a possible racist and fascist-type ideological basis for such an effort.
Will the effectiveness of the Tea Party to promote a far-right agenda inspire some elements of the Democratic Party coalition to consider an independent role? Already, the liberal group MoveOn broke with the Obama administration by helping mobilize sentiment against war against Syria in September.