While headlines from the Texas primaries last night tout the fact that establishment Republicans survived their primary challenges, a deeper look at the results suggests the Tea Party may still be in control of GOP politics.
Republicans were especially quick to highlight the victories by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), but they ignore that both men benefited from very flawed opponents. Cornyn's 59 percent and Sessions's 64 percent share of the vote show they didn't exactly win runaway races.
Meanwhile, the conservative grassroots is very much alive. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) remains the most powerful force in Texas politics and the man he beat two years ago in a GOP primary to win his Senate seat, David Dewhurst, has never fully recovered. Dewhurst is now considered the underdog in a runoff to keep his powerful post as lieutenant governor.
In fact, every Republican who won last night did so by running hard to the right. They ran on Tea Party platforms. And they ran campaigns highlighting their opposition to President Obama — even in races that have nothing to do with national politics.
We'll probably see this same story play out in Republican primaries across the country over the next few months.
First Read put it best: "Establishment Republicans have figured out how to survive (for the most part) in these primaries, but the question is whether this has been good for the party in the long run."