Tea Party

When I wrote my last post for The Party Line, we were expecting that all the attention on Tuesday’s primary election would be in South Carolina. Instead, the political earthquake centered in Richmond, Va., with the unseating of the second-most powerful Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives.

And while most commentators are readying national implications into the race, it would seem like the old adage of former House Speaker Tip O’Neill still rings true: All politics is local.

Following the 2012 presidential defeat, Republicans sought to rebrand their image.  In a 100-page report, entitled the “Growth and Opportunity Project,” a series of recommendations were made, most notably about the messaging that the party sends to the electorate. 

In the classic writing of American political thought, Federalist 10, James Madison argued that the new constitutional republic would “break and control the violence of faction.”

And by a faction, Madison meant “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.”

In the beginning, there were a few diehards, committed to raising awareness of their vision of the perceived injustices being perpetrated by an overbearing government. They believed that speaking up and taking action was the only way to draw attention to the problems they saw.

Their main weapon was to gain notice, but they needed an outlet to gain the attention. So staging rallies and protests, all under their recognized 1st Amendment right to “assembly and petition” their government, was at first small. But as time marched on, so did their numbers and strength. 

South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint has announced he's leaving the Senate in January to become president of The Heritage Foundation – a conservative think tank. In a statement, DeMint says he's leaving the Senate but - quote - "not leaving the fight." 

South Carolina Republicans knew Senator DeMint planned to retire after his second term in 2016, but they hoped to have him until then.

"Senator DeMint's been a rock star for us," says South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Chad Connelly. "He's become an icon for the conservative movement nationwide."