For the GOP, moving rightward

13 October 2013 |permalink | email article

As Doyle McManus reported in the Los Angeles Times the Republican Party is at war with itself. The most important actors aren’t Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and the tea party members of the House who brought us to the government shutdown. The party rift’s chief driver is a former senator most Americans couldn’t pick out of a lineup, former South Carolina senator Jim DeMint. He resigned from the Senate in January to become president of Washington’s Heritage Foundation. He has quickly turned Heritage—especially its new lobbying arm, Heritage Action for America,—into a powerful engine of pressure on Republicans in Congress. Aside from defunding Obamacare the Senate Conservative Fund, a separate political action group that DeMint founded, played the role of enforcer, attacking GOP members who didn’t fall in line.

What’s clear is that earlier movements, like this one, have aimed to change their own parties first, on the assumption that voters wanted a purer form of politics. As a result, some of the toughest, more expensive campaigns in next year’s congressional election cycle may not be between Republicans and Democrats but in primaries that pit Republicans against each other—with the future of the GOP at stake.

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