The late British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once opined that “Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” It’s a messy business that gets messier the more there is at stake. When there is a tug of war among constituents over how the political and economic pies are to be divided, or more important, how more pie is going to get made, elections can easily devolve from food fights to mud slinging.

This week brings us the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay, Florida from August 27th to the 30th, but there have been a whole host of US primary elections in which candidates for seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate were up for grabs. Many conventional Republican seats were being contested by members of the so-called Tea Party Patriots, an anti-tax, small government movement. The extent to which they prevail may create possibly the starkest contrast between the two major political parties in more than 100 years. 

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