WASHINGTON — Desperate to knock off GOP incumbents in this year’s Republican primaries, the nation’s tea party groups have spent millions only to fall short in election after election. Yet for all the losses, from Matt Bevin in Kentucky to Chris McDaniel in Mississippi, business for the tea party has never been better.
The lack of success at the ballot hasn’t kept the groups from raising huge sums of money, adding names to their mailing lists and recruiting new volunteers. At the same time, they continue to pull the Republican Party to the right. GOP lawmakers who previously compromised with Democrats on spending, among other issues, now refuse to budge — even if it means shutting down the government and risking a default on the nation’s debt.