It’s probably not fair to call the 2014 primary season a roller coaster for the Tea Party. A roller coaster would suggests some ups and some downs. The reality is that it’s been one really, big up in the middle of a bunch of downs. Dave Brat’s victory was a huge up, but that’s been about the only one. In other races, the GOP Establishment has dispatched Tea Party favorites with regularity, including last night’s soul crushing victory for Thad Cochran over Chris McDaniel.

The Tea Party is not dead. It has helped to field candidates and ran some decent races, but that’s not enough. As I said on Twitter last night, Moral victories aren’t good enough when the country is headed off the cliff.

I have some thoughts on what we’ve learned through this primary season and what the Tea Party can do going forward. Of course, the Tea Party is not really an organized entity, but rather a movement based around reducing government, taxes, and a return to constitutionalism. When I offer suggestions of what the Tea Party should do, I’m really offering suggestions to the individuals who believe in those principles.

What We Have Learned

Grassroots Conservatism Can Work – People are still energized by conservatism and conservative issues. People want smaller government, secure borders, sensible foreign policy, more freedom. If Brat’s victory of Cantor proves anything, it proves that people are fed up with the status quo. The problem is that the GOP Establishment loves the status quo almost as much as the Democrats.

The GOP Establishment Aren’t Tea Partiers – While that may seem obvious, let me elaborate. I’m not just saying that the Establishment isn’t involved in the Tea Party. I’m saying they are its enemy. Mitch McConnell, who faced a primary opponent, said that they would “crush” the Tea Party. Thad Cochran’s campaign played the racism card against the McDaniel to drive Democrats to the polls and tip the balance in his favor. Big money GOP donors and lobbyists have opposed the Tea Party at every turn.

Eric Cantor’s Defeat Was an Aberration – What I mean is that Cantor’s defeat doesn’t signal that the Tea Party has turned the tide within the GOP. By all accounts Cantor ran a lousy campaign. Yes, he spent more than Brat, but it was pointless, unfocused spending. His strategists told him he’d win easily, and he campaigned as such. Here’s an analogy for you. If the battle for the “soul of the GOP” were a football season, the Tea Party won one game and lost the rest. Yes, they knocked off the number one team in the country (Brat defeating Cantor), but that’s about it. One memorable win doesn’t mean make the whole season.

What Next?

1. Rediscover The Mission – Tea Partiers need to do some soul searching. What are they trying to accomplish? Are they trying to save the country or reform the Republican Party? They need to come to the realization that they may not be able to do both. Another football analogy comes to mind. It’s tough to run for a touchdown when your own “teammates” are tackling you.

2. Stay Energized – The Cochran victory was a gut punch. Politics is a tough business. Turning the country around will be even harder. Focus on America’s greatness and your children’s future. More than ever your energy is needed. Whatever you do, don’t give up the fight.

3. Know Your Options – If you think that the GOP is the only alternative, you’re wrong. The American Conservative Party espouses conservative ideas and wants to see them implemented. We’ll support any candidate (even a Republican) willing to pull hard in the right direction. Building a new party is tough, but you may find it easier than trying to take back a party that is hostile to you.

4. Draw A Line in the Sand – If you are a Tea Partier who’s not ready to stop fighting for the “soul of the GOP,” then you need to draw a line. What will it take for you to say, Enough is Enough, and leave the GOP? GOP-backed Amnesty? Having Jeb Bush shoved down your throat in 2016? In my opinion, this primary season should have been enough, but everyone has to decide for themselves. Don’t be the person who 5 years from now is still fighting to save a party that has left you while the country is deeper in trouble. Draw a line in the sand, and if or when the GOP crosses it, walk away and find another place to work. The American Conservative Party will be ready when you are.

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  • The ACP says

    The Tea Party is NOT a political party or even a branch of the GOP according to what I can fathom. BUT, we do need a real CONSERVATIVE party, the GOP no longer represents “We the People” at all, ex: the crap budget bill just passed. I would hope that real conservatives can band together and make some big changes in Washington DC.

  • The ACP says

    There is a Tea Party? It pretty much disappeared in 2010. So, where are the 2m protests in DC? All gone.

  • The ACP says

    There’s nothing wrong with sacking people who don’t do their jobs. The problem comes when the people who are supposed to be working for us start working against us. That describes too much of the GOP today. Soooo…. sack the party. As for making the Tea Party into a political party, who is this “we” and “us” you speak of?
    I mean, if you’re going to loyally shill for the team, at least admit you’re a member.

  • The ACP says

    I’m sorry…what makes the headline “amazingly stupid” again? I’m confused…

  • The ACP says

    What an amazingly stupid headline!! A group of highly upset people, WITHOUT A LEADER, cause a DRASTIC power shift four short years ago, unseat a majority leader who forgot his constituents, force the good old boys in DC to change the way they do business and force a long time trough feeder in Mississippi to resort to democrat tactics in order to try and steal victory and YOU have the audacity to ask that question as a headline!!!!! Thad the Cad DID NOT WIN!! Mcdaniel got more LEGAL votes and will be declared the winner. As for the tea party, STOP TRYING TO MAKE US A POLITICAL PARTY!! We are NOT a third party fighting against the republican and democrat parties. We are PEOPLE who are tired of being used as stepping stones for CAREER POLITICIANS! The Mcdaniel type candidates are not backed by some 3rd political party, they are backed by INDIVIDUAL PERSONS WHO WANT THE CANDIDATES TO REMEMBER WHO THEY WORK FOR; We The People!!