Is Mississippi Proof the Tea Party Can Still Cannibalize the GOP?

The task of the Republican Party may be the most compelling story of the primary races. Democratic candidates will be fighting against a string of scandals that have hurt President Barack Obama’s approval rating in recent months, from the Internal Revenue Service targeting controversy to the Veterans Affairs healthcare scandal to the Bergdahl exchange. Democrats must also contend with the public’s dismay over the faulty launch of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges and the broad negative opinion with which the American people view the healthcare reform.

Republicans have their own image problem, and the party is looking to pick up enough seats to gain a Senate majority. For the coming election season, both financing and rebranding will key for the GOP. With a number of key issues resting in the hands of Congress — the future of the Affordable Care Act, immigration reform, the economic recovery, and minimum wage — and the given the ability of the coming election to drastically change the makeup of Congress, Tuesday’s primaries provide a key glimpse into the future.

Leading up to the primaries, it was largely expected that the Republican Party would lose its Tea Party fringe, with establishment Republicans in less danger of an upset than in the previous two elections. But as the primaries progress, it will be important to consider this question: Has the Republican Party has learned how not to shoot itself in the foot?