SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

May 23, 2014

Benton: Tea party woes could damage Democrats

Another bad week for the tea party, whose candidates ended up losing primary elections in Kentucky, Georgia and Oregon on Tuesday.

But in a bit of irony, that may spell doom for Democrats whose candidates figure to be more seriously tested by more moderate Republicans in those and other states. Many analysts say that based on the Republican primary results to date, the GOP’s chances for capturing a majority of seats in the Senate have improved. (And most agree it would take an upset of major proportions for the party to lose its majority in the House of Representatives.)

However, a Republican majority in both houses might actually make life a little easier for President Obama in his last two years in the White House. There will be no political advantage in campaigning against a lame-duck president, and the party will be in the position of having to show voters it can do more than be the voice of opposition if its hopes to elect one of its own to replace Obama.

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Many expect Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee is 2016. But despite her repeated insistence that she has no interest in challenging the former first lady, Elizabeth Warren continues to garner plenty of favorable reviews, particularly from the party’s more liberal wing.

The New Republic has termed her “Hillary’s nightmare.” And in a recent review of Warren’s new book, “A Fighting Chance,” The New Yorker’s Jill Lepore compared the Bay State senator with former Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis based on her intellect and willingness to take on corporate America.

Warren is in essence the anti-tea party candidate whose constituents appear to agree with her positions in favor of fair taxation, tighter regulation of the financial industry and the need for government involvement to maintain a robust economy.

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