Will Mississippi make or break the GOP?

According to the New York Times, a Tea Party victory in Mississippi tonight could “fracture” the GOP, and would only serve to strengthen the Democrats’ chances of holding onto the Senate majority:

WASHINGTON ??? Fear of losing a seat to a Democrat because of a Tea Party upset is one reason congressional Republicans are warily watching Tuesday???s Mississippi Senate runoff and other primary challenges to incumbents. But it is not the sole reason, and perhaps not the most important one, for Republicans this election cycle.

With control of the Senate within reach, Republican lawmakers and party operatives worry that the election of mavericks like Chris McDaniel, who istrying to unseat Senator Thad Cochran in Mississippi, could make a difficult governing environment almost impossible by expanding the ranks of Republican senators who are willing to defy the party leadership.

What good would a Republican majority be, they ask, if it is not a dependable governing majority? In fact, they suggest that a fractured majority could harm the party and its prospects by putting congressional Republicans nominally in charge but denying them real power to deliver on big issues. Trying to keep that from happening is one of the central motivations for Republican leaders who have been so determined to turn back Tea Party challengers this year.

Read the rest here.