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A mere month ago, it seemed as if America’s political center was on life support, and maybe even dead.

Not anymore. Today, the center is striking back.

How did it happen? First, we saw a parade of polls showing the Republican Party and the Tea Party suffering devastating hits due to last month’s 16-day Republican-engineered government shutdown, which Standard and Poor’s estimated cost the economy $24 billion. As the shutdown dragged on, and it became clear that Tea Party House Republicans really might let the U.S. default on its debt to seize what they could not win in elections, business-oriented donors began balking, threatening to withhold donations unless the shutdown stopped.

Then last week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the center-right Republican detested by Tea Partiers and conservative talk show hosts for his willingness to work with Democrats, was re-elected in a rout in which he made huge inroads among traditional Democratic groups, and won independent and moderate voters. In Virginia, Democrat Terry McAuliffe defeated unabashed Tea Partier Ken Cuccinelli (but not with the whopping margin that most pundits and pre-election polls had predicted). In Alabama, the GOP’s business wing successfully beat back the Tea Party in Bradley Byrne’s victory over Tea Partier Dean Young.

The significance?

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JOE GANDELMAN, Editor-In-Chief
Leave a replyComments (6)
  1. The_Ohioan November 11, 2013 at 11:10 am

    It’s going to be hard for the GOP to elect a President when they keep nominating center right candidates and the base is far right and not at all passive about it. Democrats didn’t buy Romney and they won’t buy Christie. I can’t answer for Independents – you never know where they will end up.

  2. RON BEASLEY November 11, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    I have a couple of problems with this Joe. For the most part it’s not the centrists or moderates that vote in primaries. Jim Hightower once said “the only thing you find in the middle of the road is a yellow stripe and dead armadillos.” The second problem I have is that while Christie is pragmatic he is a hard core conservative – nothing centrist about him.

  3. sheknows November 11, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Agree with Ron.

  4. slamfu November 11, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Chris Christie: Tea Party, I am your daddy!

    Tea Party: NOOOOO! That’s IMPOSSIBLE!

  5. JSpencer November 11, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    Against raising the minimum wage
    Against gay marriage
    Anti-choice
    Crappy environmental record
    Is that what passes for a moderate these days?

  6. slamfu November 12, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Comment

    Against raising the minimum wage
    Against gay marriage
    Anti-choice
    Crappy environmental record
    Is that what passes for a moderate these days?

    Yes.