Wednesday, May 2, 2012

After Lugar

Jonathan Bernstein writes:
it's looking more and more as if Dick Lugar is toast. If it does cost Republicans the seat -- unlikely in my view, but certainly possible -- it does make you wonder if there's any point at which they might start rethinking their strategies, no? 
I'd be surprised if any serious rethinking came out of a defeat in Indiana.  In 2010, Republicans lost very winnable Senate races in Nevada and Colorado as well as near-certain victory in Delaware because their primary voters nominated extreme and sometimes flaky candidates when electable moderates were available.  If there was a serious internal rethinking in the GOP about nominating extreme Senate candidates after that, I didn't see it.  And it didn't seem to reach Indiana.

I guess it's a little different because those were open seat races while Lugar is an long-serving Senator, but I don't think that's really going to weigh heavily on anyone's mind.  There aren't that many moderates left in the GOP who would drive a freakout over this (if there were, Lugar would be coasting to victory) and while sitting Senators probably don't like the effects of this dynamic on their job security, being the first to speak out against it would put them in greater primary-election peril, so they'll keep their mouths shut.

As an institution, the Republican Party has decided to sacrifice a few Senate seats in the name of ideological purity.  I'm pretty happy about this, because I like it when they lose Senate seats.  The price is that you get a more extreme Senate Republican Party, but it's not like the so-called moderates were doing all that much for us anyway.  
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