Six weeks out from the United States mid-term elections on November 2
and we already know things are not what we thought they were.
Supporters of the Tea Party rally in Washington DC for conservative principles. (Getty Images)
Two years after the Presidential election, Americans get the opportunity to say how they think things are going, electing the House of Representatives, many Senate seats, and several State governors.
Usually, the party of the incumbent President takes a beating, as George W. Bush discovered in 2006 and Bill Clinton in 1994 when their control of the Senate came to a dead end.
Six, maybe even three, months ago President Obama seemingly faced a similar fate with much apparent public dissatisfaction with the state of the nation and Obama’s slow pace in cleaning up Bush’s mess.
The political chatterati considered Obama’s Democrats would be whipped in November, turning over Senate power to Republicans as Americans decided they weren’t keen on Obama’s hope-and-change manifesto after all.
Now, after recent primary elections where Republican Party members have voted on their candidates, things are looking less calamitous for Democrats.
Not necessarily because Dems have all the answers but that Republicans have chosen candidates so far to the right – and in some cases so whacko – that any dissatisfied middle grounders will be scared away.
Candidates backed by ultra-Conservative supporters of the “Tea Party”, a populist right-wing anti-Federalist movement, won candidacy in Delaware and Alaska to shine a spotlight on how the Republican Party may have been taken over by extremists.
As The New York Times reported: “Republicans strategists… acknowledge that they are unlikely to win the Senate race in Delaware after the victory in the Republican primary there of Christine O’Donnell, a Tea Party-backed candidate with a long record of controversial statements, over Representative Michael N. Castle, a moderate and popular former two-term governor.”
But Republican consultant John Weaver countered: “While we may have a handful of nominees out of the mainstream, the American people have come to the conclusion this administration and this Congress are out of the mainstream.”
Footage of Christine O’Donnell has emerged with the candidate claiming she “dabbled into witchcraft” which may prove to be problematic for Christian Republican voters in Delaware.
“One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar, and I didn’t know it,” O’Donnell revealed on the old video. “I mean, there’s a little blood there and stuff like that. We went to a movie and then we had a little midnight picnic on a satanic altar.”
“In southern Delaware, where there are a lot of churchgoing people,” Republican strategist Karl Rove, alternatively once known as “Bush’s Brain, said. “They’re probably going to want to know what was that all about.”
Alaska Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller, a favourite of former Governor Sarah Palin, has also shown his extreme views may be more complicated in practice.
Miller believes unemployment benefits are unconstitutional but does not have a solution for poverty.
“What we have in this country is an entitlement mentality,” Miller told Fox News, with no sense of irony.
Some Republicans, however, see a bleak future for the party if it continues to put forward radical candidates.
“We can’t be a majority party if we can’t appeal across the spectrum, if we have an exclusionary approach in general,” said Olimpia Snowe, a Republican Senator from Maine.