In many ways, 2010 will be the Year of the Tea Party. The angry conservative movement has bumped off a number of moderate and establishment Republicans in the primary season, packed huge rallies across the country and provided most of the best drama of the political year. But the success and prominence of the tea party movement has led to another trend: across the country, Democrats have been accused of helping get phony "Tea Party" candidates on the ballot in competitive races, in an attempt to split the vote between the Republican and fake "Tea Party" nominee so the Dem can cruise to victory.
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It all made a lot of sense at the start. Back at the beginning of 2010, the tea party movement was showing real signs of splitting off into a separate political party. This was before the tea partiers set their sights on remaking the GOP with Senate nominees like Sharron Angle, Ken Buck and Christine O'Donnell, and, in turn, the GOP embraced the movement with both arms. A few clever Democratic activists, it appears, set about to take advantage of the schism between the GOP and tea party.
Evidence of the alleged plan has popped up in Florida, Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania this year. Time will tell how successful it's been, but so far it's had very little effect.