Ken Cuccinelli II campaigning in Mechanicsville. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) Ken Cuccinelli II campaigning in Mechanicsville. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Election Day 2013, folks! Michael Gerson has written us a column to coincide with the widely expected gubernatorial victory of Virginia Democrat Terry McAuliffe. The tea party has destabilized the GOP, he writes, and is beginning to interfere in the ability of the Republican Party to win elections. For example, this Virginia one.

Analysts have carefully determined that Virginia voters consider McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli II, the Republican candidate, gross and icky and gross. But McAuliffe seems a lock to win, and turnout is high for an off-year election, the kind Democratic voters tend to sit out. Cuccinelli’s nomination illustrates the GOP prizing purity over electability, which, Gerson predicts, could doom the party forever. The party of Lincoln might go the way of the Lincoln Town car.

One commenter agrees, and voted so. Explicitly against Cuccinelli, reluctantly for McAuliffe:


I had to pinch my nose while I voted for McAullife b/c there was NO way I’d vote for Cucci… and a vote for Sarvis would be wasted. Can’t the great state of VA come up w/ better candidates?

But how will the Republican Party right itself, casting out its most motivated followers? Commenters wonder.

HillRat thinks it’ll take many many years and turning points:

It will take Hillary’s reelection in 2020 for the newly radicalized Republican Party to come to its senses and become part of America again.

giffordj says it’ll just take a much more proactive moderate wing of the party:

Mr. Gerson, just SAY IT: The Republicans need to muzzle the Tea Party or evict it, and move back to the center, or they will continue to lose public support and will risk losing political relevance for a generation.

chaos1551 says it won’t — the party will just die out for awhile:

“Tea party candidates — recall Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin — often lose winnable races.”
This problem is trending toward solving itself. Republicans will diminish, Democrats will atrophy, and then the cycle will renew.
It wasn’t long ago the Democrats had an identity problem. Atrophy against a diminished Republican party will bring it back.

info4 argues that it won’t. The establishment will be subsumed first:

Ron Paul was asked if he would run last election as a third party or start a new party and he said, “It would be easier to take over the Republican Party.” This was the plan and it is working. Many may not like the grassroots takeover or their choice of candidates but it is democracy in action, people actually having a say in who represents them. Times change and so do political parties. Establishment Republicans will soon have a choice to make, get in line with the new Republican Party, switch to the Democrats, start a new party or get out of politics.

Wow. PostScript is pretty sure party Republicans would hate all those options. Possibly even more than losing elections.