The cultural conservatives now dominate the Republican party. The most visible of this group are the media types, Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, and their ilk. They have plenty of elected senators and representative who share the same values but who just aren't as visible.
Unfortunately for the Republican party, the ideological attacks are great for ratings, thus ensuring that they will continue. This will also keep the cultural conservatives stirred up and active. Moderate republicans seem to have no place in the party. Anytime they vary from cultural conservative orthodoxy, they get hammered by the wingnut media. Lately, Newt Gingrich, of all people, has been accused of being a RINO.
So now we have the election in NY Dist 23, where moderate GOP nominee Dede Scozzafava is running against Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman. Although Democrats don't win in this district, it's possible that this split could throw the election to Democrat Bill Owens.
To me, this is the interesting part.
national conservative figures like Sarah Palin and Fred Thompson (and Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh) have bucked the establishment and thrown their support behind the soft-spoken Conservative Party alternative, Doug Hoffman.I understand that Gov. Tim Pawlenty has also weighed in for Hoffman. To me this looks like the genesis of a new political party. Tea partyers, Palinites, Dittoheads, the whole crowd now has a new party.
It’s also entirely possible the Democrat, lawyer Bill Owens, could eke out a victory amid the Republican infighting. He would be the first Democrat to win that district in 140 years.
The delicious irony is that Republicans spent the last 50 years making "liberal" an epithet and "conservative" the highest badge of honor. It has been branded as the ultimate description of the values that have been espoused by the Republican Party for all these years. So now, the "Conservative" party, helped along by the wingnut right, is poised to capture that brand and all the votes that go with it.
Nationally only 20% of voters identify with the Republican Party. If the Conservative Party catches on, it could take over this 20% pretty easily, as this 20%is the most hard core of the conservative right. The moderate Republicans who now call themselves Independents might migrate back to the Republican party, I suppose, but they'll have lost the south and older white voters. Which will ensure a Democratic majority for a long time.