It’s hard to say which should trouble Republican Party leaders the most right now: the sour mood among GOP donors, or the money suddenly swelling Democratic campaign and super PAC coffers.
Not only have the Democratic campaign committees that back House and Senate candidates outraised their GOP counterparts, but unrestricted super PACs that support Democrats have pulled in close to three times what GOP super PACs have so far, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
When you combine these kinds of fundraising numbers with the types of poll numbers we're seeing, it's clear that while the tea party might be as big as ever, this isn't 2010—and the tea party isn't something that smart people in the GOP wants to have hanging around their neck. For example:
“We should be worried,” said John Feehery, a former GOP leadership aide and president of the lobbying and PR shop of QGA Public Affairs. “I think the biggest worry for Republicans is the fratricide. When it’s Republican-on-Republican violence, the business community will look at Democrats and say: ‘At least these guys are sane.’”
Actually, the worst thing for Republicans is that the GOP on GOP violence is only running in one direction—Ted Cruz acolytes attacking every Republican who isn't to the right of Attlla the Hun—while the rest of the party cowers fear. Instead of fighting against the tea partiers that are ruining the GOP brand, they spend their days voting in lockstep with the tea party or following the model of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who literally sold his soul to to nose-holding tea partiers.
A true GOP civil war might turn off some voters, but to most folks, the only thing less attractive than a GOP blowing itself apart is a GOP that bends over backwards to do everything that Ted Cruz demands of them.