It’s just weird that we keep seeing polls that show Republicans beating Democrats when the GOP is basically having a civil war within its ranks.

So what happens now, with the primary season ending, and the Tea Party having defined it? Does the Tea Party remake the G.O.P. in its image, staging a “hostile takeover,” as Matt Kibbe, the president of FreedomWorks, the libertarian advocacy group, urged activists rallying outside the Capitol last weekend to do? Or will the Republican Party co-opt the Tea Party, as Trent Lott, a former leader of the Senate Republicans, said it must?

The embodiment of this question might be Senator Jim DeMint, the South Carolina Republican who has made himself and his Senate Conservatives Fund a kind of Tea Party Good Housekeeping seal of approval. Sitting at the intersection of the Republican Party and the Tea Party, Mr. DeMint could be a model for how the two might co-exist — or an example of how the drive for ideological purity could turn the Republicans into a niche party.

I guess the question is when the Republicans become a niche party. Will it be this November? Will it be in two years? Will it take longer than that?