To be clear: Republicans will make big gains next week. That is neither a surprise, nor especially revealing – if the opposition could not prosper as the effects of the Great Recession are at their most painful, it might as well disband.
But in the medium term, the economy will begin to recover – and the GOP’s position will become much more perilous than is acknowledged at present. It might actually be better for its health if several of the Tea Party movement-backed candidates lost on Tuesday. Such a result would, at least, give early warning of the dangers of selecting eccentrics and extremists as one’s standard-bearers.
If they win, though, the likes of Paul, Angle and Miller will become frontline figures – and their inherent weirdness will seriously corrode Republican appeal to the swing voters who still decide national elections.