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Republican U.S. Senator Thad Cochran addresses supporters during an election night celebration after defeating Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel in a run-off election in Jackson, Mississippi June 24, 2014.
Republican U.S. Senator Thad Cochran addresses supporters during an election night celebration after defeating Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel in a run-off election in Jackson, Mississippi June 24, 2014.
(LEE CELANO/REUTERS)

DAVID SHRIBMAN

For all the talk about the Tea Party, U.S. politics still an insiders’ game

The important thing in American politics is what didn’t happen in Mississippi. The Tea Party candidate, Chris McDaniel, did not win. The incumbent, veteran Republican Senator Thad Cochran, did prevail. The natural order held.

This is not to say that the victory of an establishment politician – indeed, a moderate Republican looking for his seventh term in a state that once was reliably Democratic – over a conservative insurgent is the natural order of things. It is merely to say that for the past half century or so, incumbent American congressional figures tend to be re-elected.