In an election cycle wherein the so-called Republican Establishment is battling to subdue so-called Tea Party challengers by outflanking them to the right or at least matching their ideological ferocity, there’s a nice metaphor for this preemptive effort going on as Texas GOPers prepare for runoff elections tomorrow, per a flare of outrage from Bob Price at Breitbart:

Tea Party Groups across Texas are reporting mailers being sent out across the Lone Star State from groups they claim either do not exist or are not true Tea Party groups. One mailer in particular, from the United Texas Tea Party is particularly troubling to groups from all across Texas who claim there doesn’t seem to be any such group in existence.

The problem with the United Texas Tea Party is that it’s sending out a high-distribution flier in which Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst is nestled among a group of fine wingnut worthies receiving the phony group’s endorsement. Dewhurst, as you may know, is a man so evil he tried to obstruct Ted Cruz’s path to the Senate in 2012.

Dewhurst is probably going down the tubes tomorrow, in what will be difficult to describe as anything other than a Tea Party wave in Texas. But having failed to make much hay when a close political ally started leaking his opponent Dan Patrick’s mental health records from the 1980s, it’s not surprising Team Dewhurst may be resorting to a quite literal version of the adage “if you can’t beat ’em join ’em” in associating their candidate with Tea Folk who mostly hate him like sin itself.

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.