You remember Sharron Angle – probably the only person in Nevada who couldn’t defeat Harry Reid in his re-election campaign for U.S. Senate in 2010. She was the perfect Tea Party candidate, reflecting and supporting the far right wing section of their membership. Her problem was that she could not generate majority support from the Nevada electorate, who cluster in the middle of the political spectrum. I could cite another example in Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell who lost a Senate race in Delaware after polling indicated that the single Republican House member could have won in a walkover. Get the picture yet? Too many Republicans who support the Angles and O’Donnells of the world would rather lose an election than nominate a candidate who can win but doesn’t meet their no-compromise standards on far right wing issues.
As a relative political neophyte back in 1964 I observed the Republican Party nominate Barry Goldwater, the great conservative Senator from Arizona. Working with some Republican enthusiasts, I inquired of them as to why the Republicans would nominate a rigid conservative who didn’t appear able to compete against Lyndon Johnson. The answer was: "We don’t care whether he wins, but rather he supports our principles!" That response astounded me, but I dismissed it as an aberration until it happened again with the nomination of Bob Dole to oppose Bill Clinton’s re-election in 1996. The rationale of that Republican nomination appeared to be: "We know Bob can’t win, but we want to reward him for his past yeoman military and political service."