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Moderates win

Posted: May 22, 2014 2:58 p.m.
Updated: May 23, 2014 5:00 a.m.

If Republicans hope to wrest control of the U.S. Senate from Democrats this fall, the party will need to have broader appeal than the support of the Tea Party and other hard-line conservative groups. Tuesday’s elections opened that door across the country as in several states, moderate Republicans won primary victories over well-financed challengers from the right.

The most visible of those was the victory by Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who defeated the first well-financed Republican challenger he’d had since first being elected in 1984. McConnell still faces a rigorous fight in the general election, but his primary win, and others like it across the nation, are a clear sign that GOP voters are interested in candidates who aren’t tied to a political philosophy that doesn’t allow compromise. Similar outcomes occurred in other states in which Tea Party candidates were tossed back in primaries -- Georgia, Oregon, Idaho, Pennsylvania.

What’s gone unmentioned in the national press is that Democrats also have a wing that is far on the other end of the political spectrum, and neither do adherents of its philosophy often come to the negotiating table. The Nancy Pelosis and Harry Reids of Washington are just as stubborn, just as doctrinaire, just as rigid from the left as Tea Party members are from the right.

If Republicans can continue in this vein, the party might be able to make headway with some voter groups which have not been receptive to their hard-line message in the past. If that happens, November’s elections -- and the 2016 race for the White House -- could be interesting, indeed.

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