May 4th, 2014
10:58 AM ET
3 months ago

The 'Inside Politics' Forecast: Will the Tea Party be 'humiliated' in the primaries?

CNN's John King and other top political reporters empty out their notebooks each Sunday on "Inside Politics" to reveal five things that will be in the headlines in the days, weeks and months ahead.

While much of political Washington was recovering from “prom night” – the annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner – our ‘Inside Politics’ family was up early to get you ahead of the big political stories to come.


1. CAN THE ESTABLISHMENT “HUMILIATE” THE TEA PARTY IN THE PRIMARIES?

The Republican establishment is increasingly confident of a near total rout of the Tea Party in important primary contests. Some of the biggest come in the next several weeks, including the bids to unseat veteran GOP senators Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Thad Cochran of Mississippi.

But the establishment coalition watching this civil war is carefully using its Super PAC resources to swoop in and try to move races- either when trouble pops up or when it sees a chance to move the numbers in a way that significantly helps what it views as the mainstream candidates.

Last Sunday we gave you first word, for example, of a major Chamber of Commerce TV ad blitz in five Senate races.

And this week, convinced its strategy is working, I’m told to look for major Chamber spending in 10 House districts with GOP primary contests – from Massachusetts and New York to Illinois and California.

You might recall a while back when McConnell – the Senate GOP leader – raised eyebrows by telling Carl Hulse of The New York Times his goal was to “crush” the Tea Party challenges, including his own.

Now, establishment strategists, while still a bit nervous about a few races, are confidently using the term “humiliate” when asked about their goals for the contested primaries still to come.

2. NORTH CAROLINA IS A BIG GOP TEST

The North Carolina Senate race is one of the five where the Chamber of Commerce boosted its TV ad spending last week. Thom Tillis, the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, is the favored candidate of the establishment – and Jonathan Martin of The New York Times told us Sunday morning there is growing confidence this GOP family feud will come to an early end.

Tillis needs 40 percent of the primary vote to avoid a second round GOP runoff – something the establishment covets so it can save financial resources and turn attention to Democratic incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan.

Jeb’s endorsement this week was a boost to the campaign:

3. KAINE’S ENDORSEMENT STARTS THE HILLARY CLOCK

Politico’s Maggie Haberman took us inside the decision by Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine to endorse Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

It came this weekend in South Carolina – an important early presidential primary stop. Why does one senator’s endorsement matter? Well for starters Kaine is a close confidante of President Obama.

Maggie notes the high profile backing is seen within the party as officially starting the clock to when Secretary Clinton needs to make a public decision about running.

“It makes it all feel, as one Democrat put it, much more real in terms of –it’s very hard for her to step back and not run,” Haberman said.

It’s also more proof of the backlash certain to come if she decided not to enter the race; many in the party say she has been so high profile in recent months it has left no room for other 2016 prospects to do any serious organizing – and that she would damage the party’s hopes if she turned away now.

4. RAND PAUL: A UNITER NOT A DIVIDER

The relationship between Kentucky’s two Republican senators is among the most fascinating alliances in politics today.

Rand Paul was not Mitch McConnell’s choice when he ran in 2010, but Paul beat the establishment favorite in the GOP primary. It was viewed as a competitive race at the time, and Paul has always given McConnell credit for quickly putting the bitterness of the primary behind him and helping out in the general election. Now Paul is returning the favor: campaigning with McConnell as he seeks to defeat a Tea Party primary challenge.

McConnell is favored to beat Matt Bevin later this month, and Politico’s Maju Raju shared his reporting on just how Paul hopes to then spring into helping McConnell unify the state GOP for a tough fall campaign.

“This is going to be incredibly crucial for McConnell,” Raju said. “They believe in order to win this race, those Republican voters need to come back home - people who right now say they will not vote for Mitch McConnell because he is so unpopular.”

And this outreach also helps his own presidential aspirations.

It is the latest installment of a Paul coalition building effort worth watching as he tries to expand support beyond his Tea Party loyalists and his dad’s libertarian backers.

Just last week, for example, Paul ventured to Boston to meet with top Mitt Romney financial backers – the ultimate outreach to the establishment.

“They went in very skeptical and came out quite impressed,” a GOP source familiar with Team Romney’s take in that meeting tells CNN.

One of the public events on Rand’s schedule in Boston:

5. THE CHANGING FACE OF THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS CORPS

Bloomberg’s Margaret Talev is a rising force in the White House Correspondents Association, and as such was at the head table near President Obama for Saturday night’s dinner.

She took the opportunity the morning after to share how the organization had changed.

Eleven members, all white men, started the WHCA in 1914. Now the organization has grown to 237 members, a very diverse group, with about half men and half women on the board.

Margaret points out that while Obama was struck by how much the makeup of that dinner has changed in 100 years, the most interesting speech wasn’t last night, it was in 1941 when FDR used that venue to talk to the American people about World War II.

To read the FDR address, click here.

Enjoy your Sunday. See you soon.

soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @Liberal Garbage: "Will Liberal Garbage continue to be Liberal Garbage in the Primaries? .............yes."

    Historically, our nation fares better economically under Democratic administrations than repub ones. Trickle-down is a failure (just ask David Stockman, its architect); tax cuts for the rich don't create jobs here in the U.S. (just look at the last 10 years or so); de-regulation leads to less competition and greater environmental harm (just look at history for the former and China for the latter).

    Go ahead with your delusions, but the rest of us will be voting with our brains and voting Democratic on November 4, 2014.

    May 4, 2014 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  2. Thomas

    Tea Party ,
    Sarah Palin , Louie Gohmert , Ted Cruz .

    We need these big thinkers to think of big things, like baptizing tourists and hunting deer with rocket propelled grenades .

    May 4, 2014 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  3. smith1

    I find them humiliating . Love to see all these crazy's go. Most are rich people that just want the spotlight. No really interested in the people anyway. They play to the worst in people and their base is made up of the bottom feeders and looney tunes and racists.

    May 4, 2014 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  4. don in albuquerque

    Liberal Garbage

    Thank a liberal that you have a country, Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, all liberals. Thank a liberal that you even have a religion. Of course, most on the right are trying to distance themselves from just about everything he taught. Bet old George Washington would take you to task about his being garbage.

    May 4, 2014 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  5. CoolCMo

    Humiliate the "tea party"? One would think that the white sheets and pointy hoods would already be humiliation enough.

    May 4, 2014 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  6. JiminNM

    America will once again be humiliated by the bankers that control candidate selection and their eventual appointment, not election, to office; and by a people without the courage to change it.

    May 4, 2014 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  7. Vijay

    Tea Party is a disgrace to this nation.

    May 4, 2014 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  8. Rip

    I'd rather see them win the primaries and then get their butts handed to them in the General Eletion. But I think most of America has had their eyes open to these nut jobs. So I have a feeling most of them will get their lunch handed to them. Too bad. It would end gridlock in the nation if they were to win the primaries then embarrass themselves in November.

    May 4, 2014 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  9. ObamaIsMyHero

    What is it like to be a liberal now? Big government proved a failure by the ACA the majority doesn't want. An embattled president viewed as dishonest by the vast majority of Americans. Gross incompetence in foreign policy. The economy growing at 0.1% in spite of Obama's efforts to kill it...and the employer mandated delayed.

    Now Benghazi emails, suppressed for years come out after a lawsuit, and show a cover-up. Next week Lois Lerner will be charged with contempt of congress, and have to testify.

    And in November, Democrats will lose the Senate too.

    May 4, 2014 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  10. Neutral Observer

    Tea party in bad flavors? Sara Palin etc etc? Extremists? Radicals? Is there anyone who wants to avoid massive debt? Bankruptcy? Insolvency? Hyper Inflation? Those such extreme ideals must be snuffed out.

    May 4, 2014 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  11. Hector Slagg

    AW, So,
    Hector glad to see some of you are paying attention. Mike in Texas, Think Again, The real Pain, etc. And Thomas! Mike love Texas. I read Toyota Is moving it's headquarters from California to Texas. The official reason is to consolidate their Headquarters but The Corporate atmosphere in California is getting so obscene Taxes is killing them. New York is giving businesses that move to New York a 10 year break with NO TAXES !! Glad to see, if it's true that Jerry Brown has seen the light. Conservatives (Tea Party) are right, of course.

    May 4, 2014 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  12. Cindy

    If the Tea Party is humiliated it will only be because they did it to themselves, not because a Democrat or Liberal or even a Progressive did it.

    None of these names you people are mentioning are the big players in the Tea Party anyway.

    May 4, 2014 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  13. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    How can they keep from being humiliated during the primary's? They're humiliated now.

    May 4, 2014 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  14. OrmondGeorge

    "The 'Inside Politics' Forecast: Will the Tea Party be 'humiliated' in the primaries?"

    If not in the primaries, then in the generals

    May 4, 2014 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  15. Iamnotfooled

    As soon as they open their mouths.

    May 4, 2014 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  16. Refuse2giveup

    King, you are wrong. The Tea Party was formed in response to out of control government spending and erosion of our personal liberties, first by Bush and continued by Obama. Has NOTHING to do with Obama's race. How the heck do you think he got elected in the first place? He won with black AND white votes. Americans had great hope in this first black President, but sadly he has not lived up to his hype or his own promises.

    May 5, 2014 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  17. P Olson

    Mike in Texas.
    California now has a surplus because Jerry Brown raided the treasuries of the local governments in California to fund state programs while simultaneously shifting responsibility for many state programs to local governments.

    May 5, 2014 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  18. Quixote

    It is long past time for the patriots in the tea party to stop mooching off the republicon brand and start their own party. Pull the tea party up by the bootstraps and run true conservatives against the RINOs everywhere. The tea party owes it to America to perform this patriotic act.

    May 5, 2014 05:30 am at 5:30 am |
  19. Juergen

    I'm a moderate. I believe in fiscal responsibility and upholding the Constitution. I also believe in a functional government.

    I won't vote for anyone that I believe is backed by the T party, Kochs, etc., the ultra right. I won't vote for anyone backed by the ultra left either.

    I don't know if anyone knows how many T party organizations exist.....it's got to be in the hundreds, some more well known than others. From my perspective, that shows that they're unable to unite. There's no T party leadership capable of making that happen. Hence the pollution of the Republican party.

    I suspect a reason for that is that they don't like each other any more than they like the rest of us. From what I've seen, they're all about being more conservative than the other. Imagine that it's who can beat the drum the loudest and nothing about a functioning orchestra.

    In addition to individual candidate web sites, the quality of which are spotty at best, there are other resources available to make informed decisions. One of those resources is Project Vote Smart dot org. This site will give one the candidate's background and who backs them amongst other things.

    May 5, 2014 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
  20. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Can't wait to see Sheldon Adelson,Rupert Mourdoch,Rove,Grover Norquist and the GOP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea party's throats EXACTLY like they stuffed Romney down.

    May 5, 2014 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  21. Marie MD

    @jdalco, CA is in the black right now. Texas continues to kill employees by not regulating companies.
    I rather go through a "natural" earthquake than a manmade disaster waiting to happen.

    May 5, 2014 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  22. Enough is Enough

    You are right Don "It is impossible to humiliate the intellectually, morally, and socially challenged". That's been proven over and over by the progressives. What you and so many progressives fail to understand is that your view of the future is far too short sighted. The Tea Party folks are trying to get Americans to focus on the long view of our future. A financially insolvent nation is not the type of nation that we should want to be. Yet, that is exactly where the progressive ideas will take us.....and the United States will simply become another third world country.....

    May 5, 2014 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  23. KieranH

    I hope they are humiliated. I hope they have their pants pulled down and receive a pie in the face....

    May 5, 2014 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  24. First One

    Maybe not, but they ought to be.

    May 5, 2014 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  25. Gurgyl

    -–they don't have wise goose, so Jeb? Joke of the year. None of the GOP is worth for being cooks in WH.

    May 5, 2014 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
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