Of the seven Congressional and Senatorial primaries that took place earlier this week, most of the attention has been focused on the results of the Delaware Republican primary for US Senate.
Christine O'Donnell's remarkable come-from-behind surge to victory took almost all observers by surprise. A few picked up the building wave a week or so ago, but most considered this two-time Senate loser on her way to an uncharmed third loss. I even lost a token bet with a long-time Senate watcher over it. I thought that Castle would pull out a narrow, one-point win.
So what is the learning we all should take form this remarkable performance?
Before I give you my own take on the race, I'll share those of some friends with whom I serve on a volunteer rapid response media committee.
Here's what Brent Bozell, head of the Media Research Center, said:
"For the politically-challenged, let me spell it out: R-E-V-O-L-U-T-I-O-N. This country is in a state of upheaval. The liberal establishment — in both parties -- has every reason to groan. Its days are numbered. Ring the bells. Out with the old, in with the new. These are exciting and oh, so encouraging times."
Al Regnery, Publisher of the American Spectator magazine said:
"Yesterday's Delaware Senate primary outcome will shake up a lot of "moderate" Republicans and members of the ruling class. Of course the ruling class will attack the winner, as they always do, who beat one of their own -- Karl Rove, himself a bona fide member, said it clearly when he opined that the winner had "serious character problems," and would cause ordinary voters to not vote for our candidates because of 'what they said and what they do.' The outcome will also encourage conservatives who might have been reluctant to throw their hats in the ring. May the rest of those moderate Republicans quake in their boots!"
And Herb London, President of the Hudson Institute, said:
"There is a grassroots movement in America gaining momentum. It is based on first principles -- limited government, the rule of law and individual rights. It seeks redemption in the face of expansive government and it maintains a bipartisan spirit. As I see it, the proponents of these positions are our contemporary Paul Reveres."
Kristan Hawkins, Executive Director, Students for Life, and the youngest member of our team, wrote:
"Christine O'Donnell's victory last night sent a clear signal to Washington, D.C. that a candidate who stands unabashedly for pro-family and pro-life policies can and will be elected in a state like Delaware, which is considered moderate to liberal. Her victory was key for the pro-life movement and further demonstrates that Republicans and Americans are deeply troubled by abortion and human destructive research and those politicians' who support such heinous practices. Her victory flies in the face of the Republican establishment who have chosen to leave the issue of abortion behind."
My own comments for the team were:
"Christine O'Donnell's victory in Tuesday's Delaware Senate primary is but one more example of the desire for change that is very much on the minds of millions of Americans. From the initial tea parties to the rallies on the national mall, from the earliest primaries to yesterdays, Middle America has been saying over and over again, loud and clear, that they are fed up with business as usual in Washington and with the professional political class. There's energy present in the electorate that, if translated into political victories in November will send a new cadre of leaders to Washington with one mission: to take the government back from those who cannot be trusted any longer."
The synthesis of all of these comments leads us to four clear conclusions:
1. This is not just any mid-term election. In fact, it may be the most atypical election year in our lifetimes.
2. The Tea Party has captured an enormous mood shift in the electorate. To some degree they may have caused it, or amplified it, but something this big is truly a phenomenon, and no single group or even set of groups can legitimately claim full responsibility for having caused it. The American people who two years ago felt that things were broken and that perhaps we needed more government have now concluded that, in Reagan's words, government isn't the solution to our problems, government is the problem.
3. Anti-incumbency fervor and anti-entrenched political establishments intensity are real and spell serious problems for each party, but offer real hope for the average citizen.
4. Poll after poll has shown that America is on the wrong track, and as they have tried to look back along the path we have come, they have gone all the way back to our founding and have concluded that our Founders produced something quite remarkable when they adopted our Constitution, and a return to the Constitutional principles of limited government may be just what the nation needs.
We'll see in just over six weeks whether these trends will produce the so-called wave election that many pundits have predicted. I think it will.
Colin Hanna is President of Let Freedom Ring.