With the NY-23 Election tomorrow, the news stations are all talking about the amazing rise of the nobody Conservative candidate Hoffman and the departure of Scozzafava from the race. This only leaves Hoffman and Owens, the Democrat in the race, and now polls show Hoffman with a small lead, so what does this say about things to come?
Many have said (including myself) that this race has divided the Republican Party and that this infighting could be a self-defeating issue for them. But after doing some reading and researching I've realized this is only a small part of a bigger issue for not only the GOP but for the whole American political system. While the Tea Partiers didn't necessarily pick Mr. Hoffman they are his strongest and more important supports, even more so than the many prominent politicans who came out to bat for him. They were powerful enough to force Scozzafava out of the race and now their man is in front. While I don't agree with a lot of things Tea Parties say nor do I agree with some of their tactics, if would be foolish to underestimate them or simply call them "astroturf". I do however understand why they're angry and do agree in principle with some of their ideas such as term limits, tax reform, and out of control spending. Now do I believe all Tea Partiers are conservatives? No, though it would appear the majority are, this is because Conservatives were the first and most successful at capitalizing on this anger towards the government. Regardless, this movement is very much real and appears (at least to me) to the first group capable of launching a viable third party and shake out political system to its core.
While the prospect of a viable third party capable of at the very least challenging the Democrats and GOP to keep their promises, I'm not sure the Tea Partiers can actually pull it off. What I believe is the true origins of this movement is the key to a third option in American Politics. The anger and discontent with our current way of things in Washington D.C. is very real and is the key to any successful Third Party whether it be Tea Partiers or Whigs. This movement seems to already have emboldened the Whigs to run for several federal offices which is fairly impressive considering out size. But it is too early to say who will be the last one standing is this political conflict or who will best utilize it.
The one prediction I do believe will come to pass is a transformation of the GOP as a whole. The fight for NY-23 has shown that the Tea Partiers are strong enough to get national figures to back the non GOP candidate Hoffman and force the GOP into a corner. When Scozzafava departed the race, she endorsed the Democrat Owens who is closest to her beliefs and now has been called a traitor by the same cornered and out of touch GOP that supported and who in the same breath jumped to support Hoffman. While this isn't surprising, it does show that the GOP is struggling with how to deal with friction between the Right and the RINOs (Republicans in Name Only). The fact that the only prominent Republicans to support Scozzafava was Newt Gingrich and the Republican House leader is very telling. Many on the news shows (especially MSNBC) has been talking on and on about who the GOP will soon become RINO free and could spell death to the GOP. While I don't necessarily agree with that assessment, I do believe the GOP is going to have to decide what to do with Tea Partiers, join them or not and this decision will decide what kind of party the GOP will be in the near Future. Either way, there are a growing number of American who call themselves neither Republicans or Democrats that will decide the political future of America.