They are having a special election next month, in the 23rd Congressional district, State of New York. There are parts of this district which haven't been represented by anybody but a Republican Congressman since before the Civil War. These are Northeasterners, fiscally conservative, not so socially conservative. The Republican candidate is a woman named Dede Scozzafava. She is no homophobe and believes that legal abortion is settled law. These are not radical beliefs. They are the law of the land and have been for some time.
The Republican party has broken ranks over her candidacy. Newt Gingrich and most of the old guard, Republican establishment, inside the beltway, support her. Sarah Palin, Fred Thompson, Dick Armey and the maverick heartland crew, have lined up behind a fundamentalist third party candidate.
None of these things is going to make any difference to the voters in the twenty third district of New York. They're going to vote the same way they would have anyway, probably for Dede.
The important thing here is the assertion now, by the fundamentalist, tea party faction of the Republican establishment, that there is no room for social moderates or a big tent in the future.
In time, the social conservatives will destroy the two party system as it has previously existed in American politics.