The Tea Party is alive and kicking.
Sen. Dick Lugar is gone in Indiana. Check.
Underdog anti-establishment candidate Deb Fischer pulled off the upset in the Nebraska GOP Primary. Check.
And now Ted Cruz forced a runoff in Texas with Lt. Gov David Dewhurst. Check.
Soon the Tea Party very well may add another huge check to their list if (as expected) Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker wins his recall election. Tea Party groups have been out there in the badger state for months fighting on Walker’s behalf.
What is underreported out there is that in all of these cases you either have a Tea Party candidate who is a conservative Christian or you have conservative Christians within pro-family groups teaming up with the Tea Party to help get these folks elected.
The Brody File calls them, “The Teavangelicals” and they have struck again. Look at the evidence:
• Ted Cruz is a Baptist and is getting help from the Family Research Council and support from Dr. James Dobson on the radio (just to name a few)
• The Faith and Freedom Coalition supported Richard Mourdock, a born-again believer as they dropped 100,000 voter guides in churches around Indiana.
• Sarah Palin, one of the biggest Teavangelicals out there, endorsed Deb Fischer.
• Gov. Scott Walker is a born-again believer who has received support from countless conservative Christian groups such as Concerned Women for America and others.
• And don’t forget the good amount of conservative Christians working for groups like Americans For Prosperity, Tea Party Express, Tea Party Patriots, etc.
The truth of the matter is that Teavangelicals are propelling much of this movement. Conservative evangelicals are not JUST interested in candidates who promote pro-life and traditional marriage policies. They are looking for the whole package. They are looking for God-fearing, Judeo-Christian based, constitutionally conservative principled public servants. That’s why they are teaming up with the Tea Party.
Critics of the Tea Party wanted to write off the movement because they didn’t see the big rallies anymore or because Mitt Romney wasn’t their type of candidate and yet he won the GOP nomination anyway.
But the critics have missed the key point. The problem with their Tea Party narrative is that they are trying to get ahead of the movement. The Tea Party is not there yet when it comes to organizing successfully at the presidential level. That will come with time. Right now, the Teavangelicals have put down their rally signs and instead are working very hard at the local and state level to affect change.
The positive headlines usually come when they have success in U.S. Senate and House races but don’t underestimate what lies beneath in small communities across the country. The Tea Party is like the blob - you never know when and where it’s going to surface! That’s a pretty scary proposition for liberals and establishment lawmakers.
As for the presidential race, Teavangelicals are crucial and the Romney campaign knows it. They have some work to do because let’s face it: Romney probably wouldn’t be the nominee if there had been one Teavangelical powerhouse of a nominee (complete with an ATM) that could have brought the majority of Teavangelicals together.
So while the Romney campaign may be courting Independents in public they know they need a significant portion of the base of the party to show up at the polls in order to win in November. And guess what? The base is made up of millions of Teavangelicals! So in a strange twist, Teavangelical turnout will actually end up being more important in the General Election than in the GOP Primaries.
Will Teavangelicals turn out in spades for Romney? If he thinks it’s a slam-dunk, he needs to think again. The anti-Obama vote only goes so far. He needs to authentically engage and flatter them with not just words but deeds. It’s a story worth following and promises to have plenty of twists and turns.