In the recent slew of primary elections that took place throughout the country, two groups particularly stood out as victors in the races: women and Tea Party candidates.
Several women won high profile primary races, including Carly Fiorina for California Senate, Meg Whitman for California governor, Sharron Angle for Nevada Senate, and Nikki Haley for South Carolina governor. Americans are fed up with the status quo and are selecting candidates who can offer the American people something new, something fresh. Women are a minority and the Tea Party movement represents something radically different from the current administration’s game plan. Perhaps these wins are representing the need for change from Obama’s “change.” It remains to be seen whether or not these candidates will be as viable in the fall.
In Nevada, Sharron Angle, the Tea Party-backed candidate, was victorious over the more established and once-ahead candidate Sue Lowden. Angle will face Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. It has been reported that Democrats, who were once fearful of Reid’s ability to win in November due to nationwide frustration with the direction in which he has led the Senate, are relieved that Angle won because of her conservative views. Angle has a lot of great ideas in terms of taxes, our involvement with the UN, and Social Security. However, some of her other ideas, like bringing back prohibition will be an easy target for Reid’s camp when it comes to attack advertisements. Her association with the Tea Party’s negative image perpetuated by the mainstream media could have detrimental effects on her performance in the general election.
As the election slowly inches closer, advertising for all of the candidates will become more heated and competitive. It is certain that the gender of the candidates will not be attacked in these advertisements, insofar as that would certainly be the kiss of death for the perpetrator. However, many of the women won because they chose to tact very far to the right in order to win their primaries in swing states. It will be difficult for them to tact back to the center when it comes to the general election.
It is likely that the Democrats will also target the Tea Party movement in an effort to distort the Republican record. One characteristic of the Tea Party movement is that it is a very loose conglomeration of local groups without a central control mechanism, and therefore if a Tea Partier shows up to a rally with a sign displaying Nazi symbols, it is difficult for the group as a whole to fend off those types of negative associations. Democrats will likely blanket those associations across the entire Republican party.
The “anti-Tea Party” mantra will become one of the focal centerpieces to the liberal advertisements that will surface as the election draws nearer. Will it work? It could have a negative effect on Republicans running, even if they are not associated with the Tea Party. It will be up to those candidates to remind Americans of the harrowing situation the Obama administration has placed our nation in and to show Americans that the few extreme stereotypes associated with the Tea Party do not represent them, nor a majority of the movement’s members.
In the 2008 presidential election America put the first African American into the White House – a truly remarkable and historical event. This election cycle, we have the opportunity to put more women and more candidates that represent the grassroots in office – an equally exciting prospect. Time will tell as the elections move closer whether or not America will embrace that opportunity once again.
*Photo Credit: Magana/AP