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Tenther Senate Candidates Get Thumped At The Polls

By Ian Millhiser on November 3, 2010 at 3:00 pm

"Tenther Senate Candidates Get Thumped At The Polls"

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For over a year, ThinkProgress has been tracking “tentherism”, the radical view that pretty much everything the federal government does is unconstitutional.  A shockingly large number of the GOP’s Senate candidates this cycle embraced tentherism, proclaiming that essential programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and the federal minimum wage are all unconstitutional.  Yet, even as Republicans as a whole rode the economic downturn to significant Congressional gains, the Party’s tenther slate massively underperformed:

To be fair, not every tenther candidate lost yesterday.  Senator-elect Rand Paul (R-KY) expressed tenther-driven opposition to the federal ban on whites-only lunch counters early in his race, although he quickly backed off this record after a disasterous interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.  Likewise, Senator-elect Mike Lee (R-UT) is also a fierce tenther, although he ran a much more low-profile race than co-ideologues such as Miller or Angle.

Nevertheless, it is significant that, in an election cycle that clearly favored Republicans, the most outspoken tenthers were unable to prevail even in the some of the reddest of red states.  It would have been a huge surprise if the GOP had not won Kentucky and Utah last night, and it is equally surprising that the GOP candidate lost very easy races in states like Alaska and Nevada. While there’s no way to spin last night’s results as a good thing for progressive policies, voters rejected the notion that Medicare, Social Security, Pell Grants, or basic labor protections should be on the chopping block.

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