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It has always been difficult to get a grip on the political realities of the Tea Party movement. David Brat's surprise victory in the VA primary seems to raise more questions than answers. It is clear that there is a national organization that is heavily funded by the Koch brothers and other big money interests. They have employed a certain amount of populist rhetoric, but the real agenda seems to be something along the lines of a strain of elite libertarianism. However, it turns out that David Brat who is being described as a Tea Party candidate was snubbed by the national Tea Party organizations.

Once Snubbed, David Brat Turns the Tables

Three years ago, David Brat, a conservative economics professor, decided to have a go at politics, making a run for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. But the back-room deal makers of his Republican Party snubbed him for someone chosen by allies of Representative Eric Cantor, the majority leader.

“All of us got bullied to get out in favor of the one guy who had a connection to most of the Republican office holders in Virginia,” said Steven Thomas, who also sought the nomination.

Three years ago, David Brat, a conservative economics professor, decided to have a go at politics, making a run for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. But the back-room deal makers of his Republican Party snubbed him for someone chosen by allies of Representative Eric Cantor, the majority leader.

“All of us got bullied to get out in favor of the one guy who had a connection to most of the Republican office holders in Virginia,” said Steven Thomas, who also sought the nomination

So it would appear that Brat is mostly a local phenomenon who managed to blindside a politician with national political ambitions who made the mistake of taking his congressional district for granted. The populist anti-government rhetoric that he used fit well into an anti-incumbent campaign.

It will indeed be interesting to see how both the national Republican centrist establishment and the national Tea Party groups respond to him now. He is certainly likely to get taken more seriously by them. His 23 year old campaign manager has already scrubbed the Facebook pages that created the primary candidate. They are doubtlessly working on the identity of the general election candidate. Odds would seem to be that a well supported Republican candidate can hold a district that has a strongly Republican history.

The whole Tea Party thing seems to be a new wrinkle in US politics. Most modern populist campaigns have focused on a presidential candidate such as George Wallace or Ross Perot. This is about congressional politics. Brat does seem to demonstrate that it has stirred up forces that are not entirely astroturfed by a national organization.

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