Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Down Goes Cantor!!!

While everyone else was busy watching the Spurs beat the tracks off the Heat last night, a similar a$$whipping was taking place in the world of politics.
It's the earthquake that rocked the GOP. In a year when mainstream Republicans have mostly bested tea party-backed challengers, a little-known and little-funded tea party challenger in Virginia's 7th Congressional District pulled the upset of the year, defeating House Majority Leader Eric Cantor by 10 percentage points.

The victory by economics professor Dave Brat gives the tea party an instant jolt of energy, sends shock waves through Capitol Hill, shakes up the GOP House hierarchy -- as Cantor was seen by many as the next speaker -- and effectively kills any chance of immigration reform passing through the House any time soon.

Cantor becomes only the second member of Congress running for re-election this year to go down in defeat in the primaries, following 91-year-old Republican Rep. Ralph Hall of Texas. Longtime Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi may soon become the third. He's fighting for his political life as he faces a primary runoff election in two weeks against a tea party-backed state senator who narrowly edged him in last week's primary but not by enough to win outright.

In the primary's closing days, aides close to Cantor said they expected the majority leader to win around 60% of the vote in his primary. He didn't come close.

"Obviously, we came up short," the seven-term congressman told supporters as he conceded the race.

Cantor apparently didn't read the pulse of conservatives in his Republican-dominated district, which is anchored in the Richmond area but stretches some 100 miles from the Tidewater to the outer reaches of the Washington exurbs.
As a guy who lives in the DC Area, I had no idea Cantor's district was so ridiculously draw. Yaaaay, gerrymandering!!!

The talking heads are having a field day dissecting this, and by all means, it's a political upset of Tyson/Douglas proportions[1]. Still, I don't see how this is a harbinger of things to come for the Tea Party, let alone proof that establishment types are falling out of favor in the GOP. This is, quite simply, an aberration. Cantor outspent Brat 26-1, and Brat got no money whatsoever from national Tea Party groups. Most of his support came via talk radio, and I'm assuming his constituents were prolly just sick of seing his smarmy face on TV all the time. The dude had a 4% approval rating after all, which is only slightly better than mine. So people clearly wanted him out. Brat, a college economics professor with no electoral experience to speak of, just happened to be the guy to fill that void.

Either way, I don't see how this changes the calculus of nationwide races this Fall, but I guess we'll see.

Question: Is this colossal upset a sign of things to come for the GOP? For the Democrats?

[1] But we all know that fight was rigged, right?

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