Rand Paul, the son of Texas Congressman and former presidential candidate Ron Paul, is the bluegrass state’s GOP nominee for United States Senate.
This was unthinkable 16 months ago.
Since April of last year, mainstream media outlets have portrayed the “Tea Party” movement as nothing more than a fringe element of so-called disenfranchised white voters. Of course, the majority of Americans realize this false label is nothing more than unfounded vitriol aimed at rallying an otherwise regressive liberal voting bloc.
Paul’s primary victory not only proved that establishment Republicans should be careful, but that grassroots campaigns can still work in the day and age of 24 hour news cycles coupled with corrupt liberal news bias.
The kind of political activism that carried Paul to victory is the nucleus of the Tea Party, which the mainstream media fails to recognize.
However, credit has to be given to Paul and his internal network which centered heavily around online fundraising, get-out-the-vote effort and an energized populous angered at the idea that the federal government has become too over-reaching in its total control of individual lives.
In fact, Paul’s campaign strategy should be a course requirement in political management study.
Ultimately, most analysts predict this momentum will not slow throughout the summer months, but in fact grow as the November midterms rapidly approach and Obama’s agenda is once again a hot-button topic around the dinner table.
Until then, Paul can claim he is the most highly sought after Tea Party candidate, because he will be put under the microscope by media pundits and political commentators.
He is the first Tea Party candidate to effectively deflect an establishment candidate with Washington-insiders backing, all the while raising an exorbitant amount of money which, most would agree, is a sign of political strength regardless of party label.
Not to mention, Paul proved that a candidate from a more rural part of the state has as much of a chance as those centrally located within the metro-hub such as a Mitch McConnell.
Keep in mind, most talking-heads were dismissing his candidacy last year after repeated polling showed Trey Grayson well ahead in both numbers and name recognition.
Predictably, some analysts will argue the Grayson campaign imploded down the final stretch, failing to ignore the strength of Paul’s staff and ground attack.
In the interim, established candidates across America are feeling a strain like never before, because this is a different kind of election cycle this year.
2010 is a year in which the average voter will turn on the most recognizable name on the ballot, not because it is a new-found fad, but because it is their right.
And, over the next few weeks, Paul will become a national symbol for the Tea Party movement much like his father was a reflection of anti-establishment during the 2008 presidential election-cycle.
This newfound excitement, along with a deeply rooted distaste for incumbency, could be just enough to turn the usual suspects in Washington upside down.
Ashley Stinnett lives in West Virginia, where he serves as an adjunct college instructor, writer, media and public relations consultant, public speaker, volunteer for various conservative organizations, and a civilian recruiter for the NRA. He is registered with the Associated Press, the National Conference of Editorial Writers and is a nationally syndicated columnist with The North Star National.