Want to Know What’s Going to Happen in 2016? Pay Attention to the Elections Happening Now
As Mediaite.com’s weekly “Hillary Watch” clearly indicates, cable news loves talking about the upcoming 2016 Presidential election. It’s no secret that much of the architecture of cable news is built around speculative political talk from pundits who are far more often wrong than they are right. Yet, the fill hours of time with talk about Hillary Clinton, presumptive Democratic Nominee presidential candidate, and which GOP contender she may face more than 900 days from now on Election Day 2016.
Despite all this attention on candidates who are not running for anything yet, there is an election taking place in 172 days that is very important to the immediate future of the country. The Democrats hope to secure their hold in the Senate and close in on the majority in House, even if they can’t wrest it away from Republicans.
The GOP, however, is at war with itself for not just the 2014 election but the identity of the party. While the GOP has been fairly unified in their opposition to the Obama White House, within the party Establishment Republicans are squaring off against Tea Party Upstarts. The latter group thinks Sen. Ted Cruz is a “hero” for shutting down the government and threatening to default on U.S. debt, while the former simply wants to hoard all the power it can.
In North Carolina, according to an essay by Jill Lawrence for The Brookings Institute, somewhat surprisingly the big issue has not been the President or healthcare, but immigration. In two districts Tea Party Upstarts charged that the Establishment candidates were for “amnesty.” Both ended up winning their primaries.
One of those Republicans, Rep. Renee Ellmers, appeared on conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham’s show and was challenged about her position. When Ellmers said that the system was broken, Ingraham interrupted her saying, “that’s a liberal line.” When Ellmers countered that farmers in her state were demanding it, Ingraham said “So you’re saying the free market doesn’t work?”
Ingraham called Ellmers “infuriating” and Ellmers retorted by saying she was being willfully “ignorant.” So while Ingraham threw the weight of her support behind Ellmers’s opponent Frank Roche, Ellmers won the fundraising battle and ultimately the election.
The question remains though if Establishment Republicans are winning because the voters recognize that many of the Tea Party Upstarts are reckless or is it because the former has adopted the extreme positions of the opponents in order to win their primaries?