The term “tea party” is applied very loosely by the political media.
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The resounding victory that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell scored over “tea party” businessman Matt Bevin this past week has thrown the media into a tizzy. Is the “tea party” dead? Did the GOP establishment kill it? Or did the GOP subsume the tea party, taking its candidates, its issues, and its ideology for the GOP?
Nate Silver writes that recent “tea party vs. establishment GOP” stories are inadequate:
The term “tea party” is applied very loosely by the political media. Was Missouri Rep. Todd Akin a member of the tea party, for instance? Weigel says no: Most groups associated with the tea party endorsed either Sarah Steelman or John Brunner in the 2012 Republican primary in Missouri. I think the case is considerably more ambiguous: