What happened in North Carolina last night? I think that blogger CAC at Ace’s hits the nail on the head in this post, and points out a problem that GOP conservatives had better figure out a solution to or they’ll be griping even more about the vast-RINO-conspiracy against them:
I’ve seen a lot of hemming and hawing about how the villainous Karl Rove and his band of toads flooded the zone and dragged “their guy” Tillis across the finish line in yesterday’s North Carolina primary. Thom Tillis was the establishment’s pick, and he won- just under 46% per the last county updates I’ve seen. However, the establishment is what it is, and how it has enjoyed wins in important primaries, both Senatorial and Presidential, isn’t thanks to their spending or some deal in a smoke-filled room. It is far simpler than that.
How can I say this? Because over 54% of Republican primary voters did not vote for Tillis. Had these other voters consolidated behind a single candidate, as the establishment always does even if they have to switch gears to do so (see the maneuvering to push Christie out and test Bush), Brannon or Harris would be the one facing Senator Hagan.
Conservatives jump from candidate to candidate in a lot of these races, and the more who throw their hat into the ring, the further it dilutes their voice in the primary.
CAC calls it the Baskin-Robbins problem (read the whole thing to find out why). But whatever you want to call it, it consists of the fact that the Tea Party, a group of individualists, must somehow coalesce behind the best conservative candidate in each race if it is going to both maximize its power and choose an individual who actually has a chance of winning in the general.
And that latter point is the point, which is a point that conservatives sometimes lose sight of in their need to find someone that agrees with them on all measures. But I do not share their favored “stab-in-the-back” theories to explain their losses. Yes, there are some powerful RINO Republicans who are working against Tea Party interests. But when I look at the actual Tea Party candidates and the actual races they actually lose and how and why, there’s no need to invoke some nefarious conspiracy. The candidates they field had better be smart, appealing, and not so numerous that they split the conservative vote. That’s not rocket science to figure out, although it’s not all that easy to accomplish.
So stop whining about what victims you are and start figuring out how to win.
One more thing: Democratic candidates have figured all of this out, and their new tack (which they attempted in their campaign against Tillis, who they—rightly, I believe—saw as their most dangerous opposition) is to fund ads aimed at convincing conservatives that the strongest GOP candidate is too moderate and is really a RINO. It didn’t work effectively enough against Tillis last night, but it’s worked before in other races and has led directly to Democratic victories. Divide and conquer.