During this year's Nation Cruise, senior editor Richard Kim and Washington correspondent John Nichols explained how the Tea Party's influence and the Democrats' dreaded enthusiasm gap will play out in this election.

Kim and Nichols

For the last twelve years, the annual Nation Cruise has facilitated numerous opportunities for fruitful dialogue among America’s leading progressives and The Nation’s readership. During this year’s cruise, senior editor Richard Kim and Washington correspondent John Nichols explained how the Tea Party’s influence and the Democrats’ dreaded enthusiasm gap will play out in this election.

Kim predicts that the 2010 election will reveal very much about “where the country is going, how influential the Tea Party is, and whether the Obama voters who came out in ’08 will come out to support the Democratic Party.” But the most important moment for the longer term, Kim argues, will not be November 2 but the days following the election, when the Obama adminstration will “chart the course for the next two years.”

Nichols’s take is that the Tea Party is not just a media creation, and that frightens the Republican Party. Nichols says that Democrats shouldn’t be worried that Tea Partisans are dominating the GOP in this “core defining moment [where] the Republican Party could become a fundamentally different party.” While Tea Partisans continue to mar the reputation of the GOP, Nichols calls on Dems to take control of their fate and “remobilize, not necessarily just to reelect Obama, but to…create a politics that will deliver for the great mass of Americans. “

—Joanna Chiu