The idea that the Tea Party is an accurate representation of Americans’ political views was put to the test in this week’s primaries—and it turns out that it’s a false notion. More moderate Republicans won out over the Tea Party faction of the right in Kansas, Missouri and Michigan. The Nation‘s Melissa Harris-Lacewell joins Keith Olbermann on Countdown to discuss what these losses signify for the future of the Tea Party in America. 

The Tea Party, she says, is part of a traditional extremist backlash that occurs before a political party moves back to the center. "When a party loses the White House, what it tends to do in the midterm is to pull to the extreme. We’ve seen it happen over and over again," Harris-Lacewell explains. "But then what it finds out is… most people’s opinions are kind of towards the middle, with just a few people, often very vocal people, out on the edges. But if you want to win an election, you’ve got to get a majority of the people, which always means moving into the center of that normal curve." 

—Carrie Battan