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Thursday, April 19, 2018

When South Carolinians head to the polls on Tuesday, it’s very likely that the Tea Party’s years-long effort to unseat Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) will end with a whimper.

Polls suggest that Graham is will crush his six primary challengers; according to The Huffington Post’s polling average of the race, the two-term incumbent is on track to clear the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a June 24 runoff. Even if he does not, it’s hard to imagine any of the other candidates making up a 40-point deficit in just two weeks.

Graham’s impending victory may come as something of a surprise, considering that he has long been one of the Tea Party’s top targets (indeed, he has been repeatedly censured by local party committees for being insuficiently conservative). But there are several reasons that the right’s quest to replace the supposed RINO seems destined for failure.

First, no serious challenger ever emerged. Although Graham’s opponents hoped to recruit a high-profile conservative such as Rep. Trey Gowdy or Rep. Mick Mulvaney into the race, the field of challengers ended up being led by state senator Lee Bright — a genuine extremist who has argued that welfare programs are “all sin,” that IRS “Brown Shirts” are planning to enforce the Affordable Care Act with AR-15 rifles, and that South Carolinians may have to “use the Second Amendment” to fight a second Civil War, among many other controversial positions. The other challengers struggled with issues of their own; businesswoman Nancy Mace angered supporters of Governor Nikki Haley (R) through her professional partnership with blogger Will Folks (who accused Haley of having an extramarital affair), and businessman Richard Cash never expanded the scope of his campaign past social issues — his highest-profile moment came via an ad bragging about having been arrested 10 times in various anti-abortion protests.  Unlike in Mississippi or Kentucky, Tea Party supporters in South Carolina never found a single candidate around whom they could rally.

Graham also took great pains to protect his right flank throughout the campaign. Although he drew the ire of the right for co-sponsoring immigration reform legislation in 2013, he has generally stuck to the party line, voting with the majority of the Republican caucus 80 percent of the time. And he has provided plenty of red meat to placate his party’s right wing, leading the GOP’s heated criticism of the Obama administration’s handling of the Benghazi attack, and even suggesting that he could bring articles of impeachment against the president.

Perhaps most significantly, Graham’s fundraising blew his opponents out of the water. The incumbent raised more than $9 million for the race, while none of his challengers managed to raise even $1 million. That massive advantage allowed Graham to control the airwaves and out-organize his opponents on the ground, all but killing their hopes of engineering an upset win. The Tea Party groups that have spent years calling for Graham’s ouster declined to put their money where their mouths are in the Republican primary, and as a result they will almost certainly have to live with another six-year term for the supposed moderate they love to hate.

Photo: Secretary of Defense via Flickr

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58 Responses to The Tea Party Falls Flat: How Lindsey Graham Survived A Right-Wing Challenge

  1. According to the Tea Party, anyone who did not support the party line at least 99.999% of the time is a RINO and should be replaced. Given that criteria, Reagan would not make the cut.

    • It isn’t about “not supporting the party line”, it is about the GOP “leadership” ignoring the majority of their Party as well as voters, and “going along” with unconstitutional actions & policies by Obama with Democrat support, against the principles of the GOP. Ones like Sen. Graham on some issues, because they are worried about re-election. Indeed, even some Democrats are starting to speak out because they are worried about re-election as well.

      • yes, pauly they’re ignoring the majority of their party and voters by catering to these minorities that call themselves the tea party. it has nothing to do with Obama, and everything to do these instigators who are trying everything in their power to take down this country

        • You blind Obama lovers ignore all the evidence to the contrary on how bad things are in this Country, how you have been lied to, all the serious scandals, the huge debt, more taxes & spending with little results, the unconstitutional actions and failing to notify Congress while acting alone, the costs of Obamacare rising, failure to shore up Medicare & S.S., while stealing $716 BILLION from Medicare, releasing 38,000 criminal Illegal aliens,and much more……If Obama isn’t taking down this Country more than any previous President, just what will it take to wake you up???

          • Wake up? We’re awake here Paulie. We’ll start paying attention when, phony News outlets like Fox, and Right Wing buffoons, quit annihilating the truth. And,
            by the way, in case you haven’t noticed, their credibility problem is getting worse, as the Bergdahl
            story keeps unfolding. Which, if you’ll look back at the
            posts here, surprised no one, but you. Just because they treat a thing as a scandal, doesn’t mean it is one.
            In Right Wing World, Obama being elected, then acting like it, is called a scandal.

          • How bad things are in this country? Well, let’s see. The DOW Index was at 6,500 points when President Obama was inaugurated, it is now at near 17,000 points. Bad, very bad. Bankruptcies and foreclosures were at record levels. Both are back to normal levels. Our banks were on the verge of bankruptcy, and according to W our economy was on the verge of collapse. Today our economy is growing, and we had 48 consecutive months of growth. Unemployment was at 7.3% and climbing, it is now dropping. We were engaged in two unfunded wars, we are now out of Iraq and will soon be out of Afghanistan. Our country’s credibility was in shambles as a result of the Republicans decision to use torture, renditions, and other tactics banned by the Geneva Convention.
            This is just a short list of what the GOP-TP wants us to believe is evidence of overwhelming calamities. With the possible exception of masochists or traitors, I can’t imagine rational people wishing to go back to what we finally left behind.

          • You are right of course. But we know the tea party Conservatives do not like facts. They probably won’t even read your whole post.

      • Yes, and I only wish that the destruction to America started by Reagan had ceased when he left office, but ALAS, it has continued unabated to the point that Reagan was without question the worst president America ever had when you consider the ongoing destruction that his failed policies and fantasies have continued to do over the past 3 decades in destroying the very fabric of everything that America once stood for: a true reward for hard work and loyalty, an equal opportunity to succeed; a fair playing field within which to develop, and just plain honesty and decency in the dealings among the majority of the country’s citizens and even its politicians.

  2. Miss Lindsey shows once again that he can charm the pants off of South Carolina Republicans. Oooh! Those silly Teabaggers never stood a chance.

    Til Benghazi do us part…..

  3. The Tea Party is the culmination of an intellectual and socio-economic evolution that has very little to do with the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, or Eisenhower. The movement that began with a focus on austerity that, if implemented, would have been the end of our consumer-oriented economy, and the end of our privileged position in the world, has evolved from calls for fiscal discipline to a “party” that embraces the worst our society has to offer.
    Having said this, I don’t believe the Tea Party movement is dead. There are many among us who support their economic “solutions”, and many who sympathize with social “solutions” they represent and, sometimes, advocate. They have toned down their rhetoric because of the upcoming midterm election, but their values and goals are still the same.

      • My familiarity with his posts leads me to believe he is not defending them, but merely pointing out that it would be a mistake to underestimate their appeal to largish segments of the population or to think they are gone simply because they have suffered a few setbacks. They are more a hydra than a common snake.

      • My post was neither a compliment nor an endorsement. Their original economic “solutions” would have doomed our economy, and the positions they have taken during the last couple of years only appeal to wackos like the two criminals that killed two cops and a woman shopping at WalMart when they decided to start their two-person “revolution”.

    • A good example is Rick Scott just signing a law this week, giving children of illegal immigrants, and children who’s status is currently illegal, in-state college tuition rates. If I’m not mistaken, the issue that caused the T-Party to drum their darling Rick Perry out of Presidential contention, for voicing support of such a law in effect in TX. A law Scott opposed without hesitation, upon his T-Party backed election. A law Scott knows will make the anti-immigrant, FL. T-Party livid. So why doesn’t the Governor care about the T-Party anymore? The short answer is, he still does. But he knows can’t win the election on their platform.

      • Probably because he, or his strategists, concluded that the overwhelming majority of voters are centrists. Flip flopping is not new when it comes to the GOP. For them it is all about winning. Governance is just an afterthought or an irritant. Let’s not forget what W said when asked what he enjoyed the most during his tenure: fame and power.

  4. I’ve never believed for a single second that the Tea Party was anything but a veiled effort to hand over control of government for the purpose of turning it into a business. Here’s why. What possible reason would two billionaires, accustomed to controlling life around them, take the time and trouble to invest in establishment of a political party their money would influence?

    When you are a corporatist, you want the entire function of daily living to be formatted for control by CEOs and an “executive” board. Maniacal as this sounds, it IS the only reason billionaires like Charles and David Koch spend their money on the Tea Party instead of using their excess financial surpluses for the greater good of the country that helps them keep their business in existence. They owe. We do not.

    This is the same maniacal effort attempted by the 7 Texas billionaires who masterminded the Americans For Prosperity. The reeking odor of an inter-corporate control contest is clear. Rich men who have it all lack only absolute control. It therefore, becomes a contest among them to see who can be the richest and the most powerful. It’s all that’s left of any real life goal.

    • Much of what you’re saying is why CEOS of a number of major American corporations such as GE, the Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and others supported Romney so strongly – with several of them even being willing to intimidate their employees into voting for Romney by sending out company letters to their employees suggesting there may be mass layoffs if Romney did not win the election; they were hoping to turn America into the planet’s first corporate-run nation.

      Romney had gotten these CEOs to pledge to writing these letters to their employees at a fund raiser event a couple weeks before the 2012 elections. It is clear that had Romney won the 2012 election, he would have been nothing more than a figure-head president, doing nothing more than pushing legislation of prime interest to corporations; legislation that either gave companies more freedom to do as they please and reduced their tax burdens (which are often now already zero), or which was intended to undermine every regulation America currently has that now keeps companies from running their operations in a way that maximizes their profits with little or no regard for the planet or the people and animals who live on it.

      • The reality is that no matter how the Supreme Court tries desperately to imply that money is speech, it isn’t. Citizens United was all a ruse supported largely by conservatives on the SC.
        This will inevitably blow up in their faces. Already, several PACS are under investigation for hiding the true nature of the origins of campaign donations.
        Americans need to keep in mind that nothing..NOTHING in the US Constitution mandates that our tax dollars should be the sole support of businesses. That’s how it will blow up in their faces. Corporatists think there’s no limit to how much they can get away with. That’s typical Robber Baron 1872 thinking. The reason they loathe this president has to do with his Teddy Roosevelt attitudes that forced US banks to hold 80% on reserve instead of 20%, money that doesn’t belong to them but money they use for foreign investments of dubious ROI.

        • You used my term: Robber Barons! Well, not mine, really, but it’s what I use privately to describe the Kochs and their other cronies. They are barons of a sort, but mostly they are robbers. “Conservatives” and “Ultra-conservatives” are not accurate terms. What’s conservative about robbery? With the Supreme Court in their pocket and their unending wealth, they can get away with anything and everything. They can change the laws so that they can never be prosecuted. Changing the government into their private business has been mentioned as their possible goal. But I don’t think that will happen, because a business requires the cultivation and support of a customer base, and I don’t see any sign that they will ever support anything or anyone outside of their own carcasses. Dictatorship seems a more likely goal.

      • And the Joi Bois try again. George Soros is not nearly as wealthy as Charley and David Crockett Koch. Now..explain just how and why YOU as an American feel it’s okay to sell out your government? Grow up already. You middle aged righties would love nothing better than to get you syrupy mitts on every dollar we earn and use it for your Wall Street Gambling. I know you middle aged Twerpie Generation snot nosed Mcbrats all too well..I didn’t work half a century, pay federal, state and local taxes so you twerps can lay around all day and retire at age 40. I don’t worry about your kind or the Koch brothers. I am old enough to remember what happens when men like you and the Greedheaded Kochs make a single thread thin mistake. Too bad you twerps already blew it getting TARP and ARRA..Now, you fall, you fall on your own dollars.

        • Not only is George not as wealthy as the Koch Bros, he doesn’t throw as much of his money away as the Koch’s do.

          See this on George:

          Soros and his generous support of liberal causes, through his philanthropy and his personal political spending, have long been the subject of conservative ire. But, until now, he hasn’t done much on the formal lobbying front, and the group’s huge increase in reported spending — it hit $11 million in 2013, more than triple the $3.25 million it spent the previous year — has drawn remarkably little notice.

          The big jump placed the Soros group 27th in a recent year-end lobbying tally by the Center for Responsive Politics — just below defense giant General Dynamics and ahead of corporate powerhouses Dow Chemical, Chevron and Microsoft.

          • The real problem is the influence of money on our political processes and government decisions, regardless of where the money comes from. The political funding decisions made by this Supreme Court are the most anti-Democratic decisions made by the SC in history.

          • You’re absolutely right! Sadly, many of the right-wing judges on the SC, appear to be in the pockets of people like the Koch Bros, Adelson and other wealthy donors.

          • And the Libtard Left OWNS the media that TOLD YOU THAT!!!

            Lame-Stream Media and Libtard Relatives

            1. Press secretary Jay Carney is married to ABC News correspondent Claire Shipman
            2. Katie Hogan, the president’s
            deputy press secretary is married to Matthew Jaffe a reporter for ABC News and Univision
            3. Susan Rice, Ambassador to the United
            Nations is married to ABC News executive producer Ian Cameron.
            4. CNN President Virginia Moseley is married to Hillary Clintons Deputy Secretary Tom Nides who also changed Benghazi talking points to “A
            video made them do it”
            5. CBS President David Rhodes is the
            brother of top Obama official Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications who said “The “goal” going forward, one Rhodes email said, is “to underscore that these protests are rooted in [an] Internet video, and not a broader
            failure or policy.”
            6. ABC President Ben Sherwood is the brother of Obama Special Advisor Elizabeth Sherwood.
            NBC’s Jeff Immelt is still on Obama’s board of advisers today.
            7. And finally……Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, is a BUNDLER for campaign funds for Obama. She met with him and other BUNDLERS in early Dec, 2012. Were they delivering their “payback wish lists”? And
            getting further marching orders?
            And on and on, we haven’t seen this much incestuous activity since the age of kings!!!

          • The joke is that no matter how much money the Koch billionaires throw at campaigns, they cannot ever walk into a voting booth and choose the candidate for us. This is a huge bur in the butts. All they really pay for is fear. Intelligent people are not driven by fear paid for by PAC influence. We walk into that voting booth alone and choose whom we, not they, want to elect. The problem today is what they do when they lose these elections. They pay off those candidates who owe them hundreds of millions to sabotage 8 years of any administration they don’t want in power.

            For these billionaires, it’s no longer about remaining wealthy. They are just maniac whose only desire is to be the most powerful men in the country. Dictatorship much?

        • You’ve got quite a sad story to tell. With any luck, Obama will feature you as a guest in the Rose Garden, put his arms around you, and point out why redistribution of wealth is a necessity..

          • Shank Black..How about you story trying to reinvent history of the 8 Bush years you Bois lived so high on the hog from? Trying to erase truth are you? The major difference between you and me? I’m an are an American terrorist control freak out to dismantle any president who doesn’t kiss up as you think he should. Age out of the McMansion at 35 did you? Or are you living off McMommy and McDaddy’s SS and Medicare like all good Twerpie Generation middle aged bois do?

          • By the way, your version of redistribution of wealth? Cut taxes for the 1% so the 99% can make up the difference. Another little boi with wealth entitlement issues contorting the truth..What else is new? A crash of your wealth and payments of taxes on that $33 trillion sitting offshore in tax free havens…Coming soon to a Twerp like you.

    • Do you mean, what possible reason would Billionaire George Soros have for investing so much money & influence for a political party and Socialist philosophy? Always bring up the Koch Brothers while ignoring Soros. At least Fox is Fair & Balanced, Lol……….

      • As usual you’re distorting the facts: the political contributions George Soros makes come in 27th behind a number of corporation political donations, whereas the Koch Bros political bribing greatly outpaces all others. No other donors are even close. So you’re comments are nothing more than your typical total nonsense.

        See this:

        Soros and his generous support of liberal causes, through his philanthropy and his personal political spending, have long been the subject of conservative ire. But, until now, he hasn’t done much on the formal lobbying front, and the group’s huge increase in reported spending — it hit $11 million in 2013, more than triple the $3.25 million it spent the previous year — has drawn remarkably little notice.

        The big jump placed the Soros group 27th in a recent year-end lobbying tally by the Center for Responsive Politics — just below defense giant General Dynamics and ahead of corporate powerhouses Dow Chemical, Chevron and Microsoft.

      • The Kochs are fascists.The ” socialist philosophy” you are snidely referring to is Democracy.Fox has nothing to do with anything that is fair and balanced.It is not the business of the pundits they employ to pursue such noble ideals but rather to pick apart and choose that part of the news which is most easily perverted to convey right wing propaganda and perspectives.

    • Those two millionaires you mention….they just donated 25 million to the negro college fund. Thumbing up my nose…..LOLOLOL Yada, Yada, Yada…..racist…yah right. Kudos to the Kochs. May the African Americans prevail all Liberal efforts to suppress them….

      Sorry Eleanore…..we are sick of the same old same old. Yes, some old RINO’s will not be unseated but many many Americans are starting to look the grass roots way…… The laugh is on you….

      We want that free market again. Not the one that is holding hands with the government. The one that ran off some time ago and no longer exists. Immigration seems to be getting to be a really big deal. The Bracero Program is looking better every day…..

    • Unfortunately, news about the demise of the Tea Party were a bit premature. If in doubt, ask Eric Cantor, who was defeated by a Tea Party candidate who capitalized on Cantor’s decision to support President Obama’s immigration reform efforts.

  5. LIndsey didn’t win yet – It’s Primary Day here in S. Cakalaki, and he’s got some crazies on his heels – Like the one that’s running ads stating that “We need to get back to following Christianity and the free market system as one – as it states in the Constitution” – The “upstate” Rightys and the “born rich” NeoCons, And the Teabaggers; Eat stuff like that up.

  6. So the biggest ass beat all the pathetic asslets, and SC will again get better than it deserves: he’s still pretty rotten, but not totally psychotic,

    • I know it is hard to believe in SC but it is nice to dream that a third party challenge from the crazy fringe might put a sane dem in office.

  7. The Tea Party represents smaller government-a balanced budget & less govenrment spending & debt (also less government intrusion in our lives), reduction of regulations especially on small businesses, less or lower taxation & self reliance or accountability. If you think these principles will doom our nation and the Tea Party is a bunch of wacko’s, just look at Greece, Portugal & Spain, even Detroit, because that’s exactly where our country of entitlement is headed-BROKE!

    • You used the wrong examples: all those things you think are great ideals for the Tea Party are exactly what have turned Texas into the country’s cesspool. Yes, it leads the nation in job creation and spending the least money on all those things you just pointed out, which have sadly however, resulted in Texas:

      Leading the nation in foisting the burden of running the state on the backs of those who can least afford it – the working poor.

      Being one of the states with the poorest protections provided by a states law enforcement and fire fighters because they are woefully understaffed due to severe budget cuts.

      Also being one of the leading states in the nation with respect to industrial accidents because shortchanged budgets have shortchanged the inspections that would have prevented industrial accidents such as the fertilizer plant explosion that killed over 50 people and leveled a good portion of an entire town;

      Leading the nation in the not only the percentage but the actual number of its residents who are going without insurance because Texas refuses to spend the money needed to provide them with the medical services they need, which is why Texas leads the nation in having the worst healthcare delivery system of any state.

      Texas is also ranked as having the most polluted overall environment in the nation because it’s reduced regulations allow companies to willfully dump pollutants wherever they want with no requirements or oversight with respect to cleaning them up; and with no guidance or regulations levied on the pollutants that oil refineries, coal fired power plants and fracking operations, can spew into the air, Texas has the most polluted air in the nation.

      If I spent a few minutes reviewing some of my records on the disaster that is called Texas, I could point out a number of reasons why what you misguidedly think are great ideas from the Tea Party are really nothing more than formulas for ultimate disaster:

      Try this on for size as many red states have enacted just what you’re describing which is why:

      People live an average of 2 year shorter lives in red states, and actually as much as 5 year shorter lives than in Blue States;

      23 of 25 red states lead the nation in deaths caused by auto
      accidents – that distorted a result can not be just by happenstance.

      13 of the 15 states that suck the most welfare dollars from Washington, including food stamps, are red states because Republican (Tea Party) policies result in Red States by far leading the nation with people living in poverty.

      And these are just a few of the downsides resulting from GOP governance.

      • Independent 1, I live in a red state and I have family that lives in Texas. Although, I agree with some of the things you have said, there are other comments I disagree with! The bottom line is, regardless of which party is in control. If the country including Texas, continues on the same path we’re headed, it’s inevitable our great nation is destined for doom. People are sick of the way Washington is being run and the downsides definetely aren’t just from GOP governance!

        • Really? Identify for me if you can, what you and/or people you’ve heard from in Texas about what they’re saying are downsides that are coming from other than GOP governance.

  8. The tea party were tools of the Koch bros spouting their party line of ending environmental safeguards so their wealth can increase. The tea party is voting against the children of this country for corporate sponsors. They want to end programs that also help the middle class. The ACA has helped millions and the tea party is behind the red state refusal to expand Medicaid which will result in between 7-70k deaths per year. Graham is no great shining light either. this is a case of who is worse not better. Maybe now he can give up his fixation on Benghazi and actually govern. But that might be asking too much of an older white man.

  9. Eleanor Whitaker is correct…the Tea Party movement has been founded and funded by the faces of American Fascism (corporatism is Fascism) and Vampire Capitalism: the Koch brothers.
    Don’t be fooled: the Kochs are not Libertarians…they’re Conservative Republicans and have been since the middle 80’s, when they came to the realization that Libertarian Party philosophies are too close to the Fascist ideologies of the Republican Party, thereby ensuring that the Libertarians will/would never become a major political party. Besides, they’ve made a lot more money as Republicans than as Libertarians….
    Regarding Sen. Graham: he did the same thing that many other Republicans have done to win their primaries: moved so far to the right as to blunt or take over the Tea Party movement. So far, only the state of Texas and McDaniel in Mississippi have seen successful Tea Party runs in the primaries. A further move to the right has allowed the Cons to take the power back.
    However, this changes very little, if anything…the simple fact remains that two-thirds of the GOP voters in this country are Progressives and Moderates, not Cons, Tea Partiers or Libertarians. Nearly every politician of the GOP belong to the Con, Tea Party or Libertarian wings of the party. If the GOP Progressives and Moderates wish to “take their party back”, there’s only one way for them to do it: vote for the politicians that truly represent them now, Democrats, and forcing the Libertarians to go back into their own party and force the Cons and Tea Partiers to break off and start their own parties…So long as the GOP “Progs” and “Mods” keep voting in Cons, Tea Partiers and Libertarians, the GOP will continue to be known as the party of insanity, corruption, Fascism, bigotry, elitism, hypocrisy, arrogance, incompetence, greed and unintentional comedy…

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