What McAuliffe's Win Means for the Tea Party

Failed gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli showed that the tea party still has trouble with women, the young and minorities.

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The story of Tuesday's elections was the narrow margin of victory in the gubernatorial race in Virginia for Terry McAuliffe. The Macker owed his victory to the women of Virginia. Exit polls indicate that the losing Republican candidate for governor, Ken Cuccinelli, edged the governor-elect among men. But McAuliffe won the race because of a big victory among female voters.

Cuccinelli's problems with women illustrate the problems that the GOP faces in this key swing presidential state. Cuccinelli trounced McAuliffe among white men, but there just weren't enough of them to go around. McAuliffe did well among young voters, female voters, African Americans and Asians. Unless the GOP figures out a way to win this new majority over, it will have a tough time in 2016 winning purple states like the Old Dominion.

With his big re-election victory in New Jersey, Chris Christie is the new national media darling. But Christie's popularity with the mainstream media will further undermine his standing with the voters who count in GOP primaries, supporters of the tea party.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the tea party.]

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz was a big player on Election Day. Cruz was the bad GOP to Christie's good GOP. The rift between the two Republicans made a conservative like Christie look like the moderate that he isn't. The Cruz Crusade's government shutdown also allowed McAuliffe to cruise to victory in Northern Virginia, which is home to thousands of frustrated and formerly furloughed federal government workers.

The Democratic victory in Virginia is a plus for Hillary Clinton. The new governor is a Clinton protégé and he will throw his political will around to Clinton's benefit in 2016. There was also good news for the 2016 Democratic frontrunner in New Jersey, where exit polls showed Clinton beating Christie in a hypothetical presidential matchup.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the Republican Party.]

But the election of new Democratic mayors in New York and Boston signals a trend which may not help Clinton's quest for the White House. The new mayors, Bill DeBlasio and Martin Walsh, are candidates from the populist wing of the party. Many of these populist Democrats are wary of Clinton's establishment credentials. The bad trade deals and even worse deals with the financial industry in the first Clinton administration still tick off some populist Democrats.

2016 is a long way off. But it's only 364 days until the midterm elections, so don't go anywhere.

  • Read Peter Fenn: Christie and Cuccinelli Prove It’s Time for the GOP to Do Some Soul-Searching
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