LEGITIMACY

Tea Party's Influence Here to Stay

November will almost certainly mark a turning point in the history of the Tea Party, the moment they went from fringe political outsiders to voting members of Congress. According to a New York Times analysis, 33 Tea Party-supported candidates are in races that are too close to call or running in firm Republican districts, with eight standing a “good or better chance” of winning a place in the Senate. They may not be huge numbers, but they would certainly be enough for the group to exert its influence. Meanwhile, on the other side of the midterms, President Obama could be heading down the path that John McCain took in 2008 with a constantly changing message to draw voters’ attention away from the economy. "There is no doubt that this is a very tough electoral environment because of the economy and we are defending a ton of tough seats," said Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director. "But we are trying to have a debate about what they are focused on as opposed to distracting them, which is what McCain tried in 2008."