Tea partiers making gains in elections

Freedom New Mexico

The “Super Tuesday” primary elections further substantiated the influence of the tea party movement and the conservative wing of the Republican Party as well as providing what could be the beginning of a national referendum on the influence of unions.

Two-term Arkansas Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln fought off a tough primary challenge from Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, who challenged Lincoln from the left, backed by labor unions and other progressives, such as the online force MoveOn.org. They poured in millions of dollars to defeat her. Lincoln turned her opponent’s union support to her favor, portraying Halter as a union hack in a state that looks skeptically at the influence of organized labor.

Former President Bill Clinton, campaigning for Lincoln, said big labor planned to use the Arkansas senator as a “poster child for what happens when a Democrat crosses them.” They tried and their effort failed.

Negative sentiment toward unions is high throughout much of the nation, and the Arkansas election could be viewed as the beginning of a nationwide referendum against overly powerful and influential unions. When Democrats are demonizing labor unions to win elections, that says something.

In Nevada, tea party favorite Sharron Angle bested her two major Republican U.S. Senate primary challengers, one-time front-runner Sue Lowden and businessman Danny Tarkanian. Angle could become the national face of the tea party movement or, more importantly, core conservative voters.

Angle will battle Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, who many view as one of the country’s most vulnerable incumbents. Reid will attempt to paint Angle as a fringe, right-wing zealot while Angle should paint Reid as a tool for President Barack Obama and his expansionist agenda.

The victories of Lincoln and Angle demonstrate that Americans are thinking and voting rightward. In Arkansas the far left of the Democratic Party, with the support of labor unions, was defeated. In Nevada conservative voters prevailed.

If the trend continues into November look for larger-than-predicted Republican gains with tea party-backed candidates leading the charge.