If the Tea Party runs competent candidates, and not morons like Sharon Angle, Christine O'Donnell, et al, they can be competitive because the message resonates, no matter what the moronic media or wishful thinking Demorats want you to believe.
It's got a grass roots nature, so its growth will be both organic and uneven, which will prompt many fools to say 'the TP is dead', only to have it bite them in the arse like last night. I'm not a TP member (or Repub, for that matter), but feel that candidates like Brat, Ron Johnson, and Tom Coburn are as close to a common sense legislator that exists right now.
Cantor was exposed as a wolf in sheep's clothing and guys like Boehner exposed themselves by weeping for his demise. The Republican civil war is far from over but the question remains as to whether it will remain stagnant or embark on a totally different tack.