Allen’s advantage? A fractured tea party

The theme of this report comes as no surprise to anyone who has paid any attention to Virginia politics over the last couple of years…

Tea party and patriot organizations can’t or won’t organize behind a single alternative to what they generally see as the establishment candidate. The result: the establishment candidate wins. It happened in the 2nd and 5th congressional primary races in 2010. It’s happening again in the race for the GOP Senate nomination.

But this time we have the perspective of a candidate who tried, and failed, to round up the anti-establishment vote: Tim Donner. His comments are instructive:

Businessman Tim Donner left the Republican primary race last month, citing the array of candidates who are “splintering what’s still not a significant faction of the state.” Still, conservatives have yet to coalesce behind any of the other candidates.

“There was a lot of proposals flying back and forth — proposals for conventions, for meetings statewide or within congressional districts,” Donner said. “Nothing materialized because trying to get four candidates all to agree with something is a very, very difficult thing to do. It’s like herding cats.”

“‘Splintering what’s still not a significant faction in the state.'” While some will try to dismiss this as sour grapes, there’s more truth in this observation than the tea parties are willing to admit…and I say that as someone who is deeply sympathetic to the movement’s larger goals.

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