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Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell brandishes rifle at Conservative Political Action Conference 2014 on March 6, 2014
The storyline:
In 2014, the tea party insurrection is starting to look more like the Boston Massacre.

In state after state this primary season, entrenched politicians are proving that incumbency counts for something after all, leveraging the stature and financial firepower that comes with high office to demolish challengers from the activist right.

Or here's another way to look at it: The Republicans who won did so by moving so far to the right that they denied oxygen to tea party challengers. I mean, let's not forget than in the past nine months alone, Republicans have shut down the government, refused to extend emergency unemployment aide, voted repeatedly to repeal Obamacare, held hearing after hearing on tea party conspiracy theories, created a new committee to uncover the nonexistent Benghazi conspiracy that the other committees were unable to find, forged a consensus that global warming is a hoax, and blocked votes on equal pay, employment nondiscrimination and the minimum wage. The list could go on.

So they literally gave no opening for anyone with any semblance of sanity to challenge them from the right. And even though that led them to victory, it's not like they were winning enormous blowouts. Take Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, for example: He won, and given that he seemed vulnerable a year ago, you can't take that away from him. But he still had the weakest primary performance of any incumbent Senator from Kentucky in 75 years. This is a guy who has held his seat for 30 years and despite that fact, 40 percent of GOP primary voters cast their ballots for somebody else.

If these guys suddenly start rejecting tea party policies, then it might be time to start asking how they managed to pull it off. But for now, it seems pretty obvious: They "beat" the tea party by joining it.

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