On Up with Chris Hayes on Sunday, the host and the day’s panel discussed the post-election Republican Party.
“Do you buy the basic thing that we’ve seen a shift in the institutional behavior of the Republican Party, in the wake of the election?” he asked.
Michelle Goldberg, senior contributing writer for The Daily Beast, said that Karl Rove’s new group to help Republican incumbents and “seasoned candidates” is one major sign that indeed they have.
Hayes said there have been “six or seven winnable [Senate] races in the last two cycles” that the GOP flubbed because far-right conservatives won those primaries.
“So in a way, the Iowa race is going to be, kind of, the test case about whether they can reform themselves,” Goldberg said.
U.S. Sen Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, recently announced his retirement, leaving an open 2014 Senate race that the GOP could take from Democrats.
But Republicans are worried that Iowa Rep. Steve King — a conservative who doesn’t fear the public spotlight and who Goldberg called the “id” of the tea party — wants to run and are reportedly discouraging him from doing so. The fear is that, like other tea party-inclined candidates, he could win the primary yet end up too far to the right in the general election.
But, Goldberg went on, the party also supported other candidates over Rep. Todd Akin, who won the primary anyway but lost the Missouri Senate race last year after making controversial comments that the bodies of rape victims could prevent pregnancy.
Tthe party establishment ultimately has to convince the voters to shy away from such candidates.
Michael Brendan Dougherty, of theamericanconservative.com, said Americans’ identification with the tea party is “going down, and down, and down.” He credited the fact that economy does not look as “dismal” has “lowered the temperature on the right.”
Watch the video, via MSNBC, below.