Warner Todd Huston has some lessons for the Tea Party movements in the wake of yesterday’s elections in Illinois:
Let’s take the race for Senate in Illinois as exhibit “A.” Of course the good old boys in the state party went with Mark Kirk, the center left candidate from a northern suburb of Chicago. He was the he-can-win candidate and the establishment choice. Not one Tea Party group, though, wants Kirk and for good reason — and I heartily concur with them, as it happens. So who was the “Tea Party candidate,” the one meant to beat out Kirk, the one backed by the newly found power of the Tea Party movement? There wasn’t one. There was three.
Sadly, the Tea Partiers in Illinois split their vote all up. Some Tea Party Groups went with Don Lowery and some went with Patrick Hughes. A few even went with John Arrington. Hughes, of course, was the only one that had even a remote chance as far as voter polls were concerned. Hughes at least registered in the polls, Lowery and Arrington barely showed up at all….
The sad fact is that the Illinois Tea Party groups didn’t spend any time organizing, polling each other, coordinating with each other. There was no effort from one Tea Party group to reach out to another one and work together. They all stayed in their own little area, met in their own little meetings, had their own little candidates forum, and made their own little decisions….
One thing is sure, if Tea Party groups want to become a political force for good, they have to coordinate farther out than their own towns and county. If they don’t they will risk making themselves irrelevant just as they did in the Senate race and Governor race in Illinois. That means organizing, whether they like it or not because organization wins elections. It’s just that simple.
The Tea Party folks certainly do not have to take on all the characteristics of the failed Party organizations they oppose. But they must get over this fear of organizing. If they don’t they will not be able to wield the power they might actually have behind them. Worse the parties that are a bit scared of them right now will surely find themselves able to ignore the Tea Parties if they ultimately find no threat from them.