Conventional wisdom says the tea party is all but over. Some conservatives are demoralized by Mitt Romney’s status as the presumptive Republican nominee — others are disappointed the crop of conservatives elected in 2010 weren’t able to act quickly enough.
But there is reason for optimism. Grassroots conservatives still have reason to believe the political realignment they worked so hard to achieve within the GOP is still underway.
For example, conservative Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock appears poised to oust incumbent Republican Sen. Dick Lugar this Tuesday. If that happens — and if he goes on to win the general election — Mourdock would join a growing bloc of conservative senators, including Sens. Jim DeMint, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ron Johnson, et al.
But a Mourdock win on Tuesday could also embolden national conservatives to invest in other states, too. Just one week later, on May 15, Nebraska Republicans will select a candidate to run for the seat being vacated by Sen. Ben Nelson. (In that race, most conservatives are backing Don Stenberg).
Upcoming primaries in Utah, Texas, and Wisconsin will provide similar opportunities for grassroots conservatives to nominate strong conservatives over more moderate, establishment Republicans.
Results are results, and while 2012 may not feel as exciting to some grassroots conservatives as 2010, there is a real chance to increase the number of reliable conservative Republicans in the senate.
And it could all begin with a Mourdock win on Tuesday.