It is no surprise that Orrin Hatch won the Republican Party's nomination for a seventh term in the U.S. Senate. If you can't win a primary election with 36 years of seniority and a $10 million war chest behind you, there's something seriously amiss. In Hatch's case, there was nothing amiss. Hatch has been a conservative stalwart his entire career and closely attuned to the views of his Utah constituents. The only ones who appeared to believe otherwise were his opponent, Dan Liljenquist, and the tea party.
Hatch learned the lesson of former Sen. Bob Bennett, who was drowned by the tea party tsunami two years ago in the Republican state convention. Hatch campaigned hard, concentrating on Republican convention delegates. When he came up a few dozen votes short of avoiding a primary at the convention, he turned his attention to Republican primary voters. In the end, he swamped Liljenquist, who is a bright, articulate candidate and a policy wonk, but who could not match Hatch's money or name recognition.
If this signals the ebb of the tea party tide, that would be good, if only because its adherents tend to be bitter ideologues who can't do the business of governing, which is compromise.