As recently as last week, the national pundit class has called the conservative/Tea Party movement dead. Not one such insurgent candidate had won a U.S. Senate primary, so they said in unanimity. The Republican Party returned safely and firmly into establishment hands, they said — or at least wanted us to believe.
The same time the talking heads said this Ben Sasse won the Nebraska GOP Senate primary. In North Carolina, while the outsider conservative lost, the Republican Senate nominee will be the conservative Speaker the State House of Representatives, who could not move to the center because of his opponent. Victories come in all shapes and sizes, after all; an important perspective to keep when trying to move an entire electorate. Massive ships don't get righted overnight.
But then yesterday came two thunderbolts for conservatives. In Iowa, Joni Ernst, once derided as a token and dead last in the polls, walloped her establishment foes with more than 56 percent of the vote. I featured Ernst during her polling depth, just as she released this unapologetic, brash ad that catapulted her to victory. I said then that assertive conservatism wins.
In only a few weeks' time, more than 575,000 people have watched this ad online.
In Mississippi, conservative upstart Chris McDaniel got more votes than multi-term Senator Thad Cochran, who has been in Washington for 41 years total. However, he did not win the nomination . . . yet. Mississippi provides for a run-off if no candidate breaks 50 percent. However, confidence is high in conservative circles since conservative voters tend to come out in bigger numbers than "moderates" in primary run-offs. Not only that, voters of challengers who don't make the run-off tend to fall in line for the remaining challenger. If you're an incumbent and draw multiple challengers, you're not only doing something wrong. You're doing multiple things wrong.
Here's McDaniel's own unapologetic ad. Horrors! The first issue he addresses is a "social issue"!
Direct, forthright and unapologetic about conservatism.
More primaries remain. Then comes the November mid-term general election. But far from retreating, unafraid conservatives are coming, and they are coming on strong — much to the dismay of media, establishment types and liberals alike.