If one wants to know what is going to happen in November, the surest sign of which way the winds are blowing is primaries in the spring and summer. The Democratic landslide of 2008 was presaged by Obama’s startling defeat of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary. In 1994, the victories of Senate candidates like Oliver North in Virginia, pro-life Mike DeWine in Ohio, and Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania in GOP contests foreshadowed a conservative wave at the polls.
The same phenomenon is unfolding now. What began as a tea-party surge now has an interesting wrinkle: this just might be the year of the conservative woman. Nikki Haley won nearly 50 percent of the vote in a crowded field in South Carolina, in spite of an eleventh-hour flurry of personal attacks. She had been endorsed by Jenny Sanford and Sarah Palin, among others. While that race may go to a run-off, Haley is the likely GOP nominee and will probably win in November. Ditto Sharron Angle, the tea-party-backed candidate for U.S. Senate in Nevada. The lamestream media is parroting the Democratic spin that these results bode well for Harry Reid — don’t believe it. Reid’s reelect is in the low 40’s, and polling has shown him losing to Angle. It shows how truly weak and desperate the Democrats are as they head into the fall: He’s the Senate majority leader, and he has to pray for an allegedly weak GOP nominee, hoping to “win dirty” in his own home state!
The victories of Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman in California also show the appeal of a conservative woman at the polls. Though Whitman is far more socially liberal than Fiorina, she won on the conservative themes of reigning in government spending and creating jobs by lowering taxes. Fiorina waxed liberal former congressman Tom Campbell, whose only message at the end was “I can win.” He didn’t. Fiorina had the support of Sarah Palin and the Susan B. Anthony List, and won going away.
Nor are these high-profile victories the only signs that this is a conservative woman’s moment. Earlier, Susanna Martinez overcame a spending disadvantage to win the Republican gubernatorial nomination in New Mexico; if victorious in November, she will join Marco Rubio as a rising Hispanic star on the national stage. Anna Little, mayor of Highlands in Monmouth County, leads for the GOP nomination in New Jersey’s Sixth Congressional District; Little had the backing of tea-party activists, Faith and Freedom Coalition (which I founded last year), and Building a New Majority, a New Jersey group focused on ground game and turnout. Little’s margin stands at only 65 votes, so there may be a recount, but if she holds on, she will face Frank Pallone Jr., one of the most liberal members of Congress, in the fall.
One of the clear winners yesterday was Sarah Palin. The liberal media wrote her obituary after the 2008 elections, but she has emerged as one of the most influential political figures in the country. Not every candidate she has endorsed this year has won, but her support played a critical role in validating the candidacies of Nikki Haley and Carly Fiorina.
Politics is a little like physics. Every action causes a reaction. The election of a liberal president in 2008 has now sparked a conservative, limited government, pro-family counter-reaction — clad in lipstick and pumps.