This is an important question. Since the election day debacle, and the failure of third parties historically to make any measurable impact on American politics directly, we’re left with…nothing. Perhaps that was the plan all along: “go along or become irrelevant.”

Meredith Jessup says that salvation may be at hand: throwing over the Republicans an inch at a time and replacing them, one at a time, with real conservatives. Writing at, she begins:

The re-election of a progressive like Barack would seem to signal the end of the , but the movement’s conservative leaders insist that last month’s election results only vindicate the group’s message…

The conservative movement has left an undeniable mark on the national GOP establishment.  The group’s mantra of uncompromising fiscal conservatism and limited government has remained a driving force in shaping platform.

OK, so show me! She does:

For proof of this, one need look no further than Rep. Paul Ryan’s ascendancy to the No. 2 spot on the GOP ticket. Once considered a fringe of the congressional conservative coalition, Tea Party-backed fiscal hawks like Ryan are now considered key players at the core of today’s Republican Party.

And then there’s this:

The Republican caucus gained three new Tea Party-backed members with the addition of of Texas, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Deb Fischer of Nebraska.

And 47 of the 54 members of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus retained their seats, while “candidates endorsed by former GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum’s conservative PAC — Missouri’s Ann Wagner and Montana’s Steve Daines — also secured victories for the right.”

I’m starting to feel better.

Then there’s this reminder from FreedomWorks’ Matt Kibbe:

The Tea Party is not a political party; it’s an informal community of Americans who support a set of fiscally conservative issues.  And when you take a look at the roster of new fiscal conservatives being sent to Congress next year, it’s clear our issues are winning.

The Election Day losers were not the so-called “tea partiers,” they were the candidates embraced by (and some hand-picked by) the Republican establishment who failed to run on the winning message of economic freedom…

You are going to see a continuation of the fight between the Old Guard and all of the new blood that has come in since 2010…It is getting to the point where [they] can’t reach back and pull another establishment Republican from the queue like [they did] with Romney.

Finally, she says that Albert Hunt of Bloomberg News has predicted just such a conservative resurgence:

From Washington to the state capitals to the local level, the movement conservatives are in the ascendancy. For years, the Republican base was divided; it’s now dominated by the movement types…

The changes are equally dramatic at the state and local level. Moderate Republican governors are relics. In Kansas this month, the right wing, led by the state’s conservative governor, drummed a number of the Bob Dole-type centrist Republicans out of the party.

It’s said that you can’t see a tidal wave until it’s almost reached the shore.

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