Let’s all pour one out for House Leader Eric Cantor.
While we were watching the NBA Finals on Tuesday night, something happened. Something big. House Leader Eric Cantor had lost his primary to Tea Party candidate to Dave Brat. The GOP Establishment probably described the event something like this. And for once that wouldn’t be hyperbole. It was a huge deal, because absolutely NO ONE saw it coming. Here are some of our thoughts 24 hours later.
Immigration Didn’t Kill the Political Star
On Tuesday when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor had lost to David Brat in his primary in Virginia, you heard the same analysis from everyone. His “support” of immigration reform had killed him in the primary. Well, that’s just not true.
In a survey around 72% of those polled in Cantor’s district either “support” or “somewhat” support immigration reform. Granted this poll is from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling and Americans United for Change, so there could be some vested interest in the results, but still the number seems legit. Not only that, but Sen. Lindsey Graham easily won against his primary challenger, even though he supports immigration reform.
So remember, just because people are saying immigration reform was the reason Cantor lost, doesn’t make it so. Though sadly, that is the conclusion people just might come to.
Steak Dinners on the Other Hand…
According to OpenSecrets, Eric Cantor’s campaign spent $168,000 in Steakhouses, while David Brat spent around $200,000.
The lesson here, steak dinners win elections!
When It’s Your Time to Go…
I’ll admit it. I bought into it. So did all the political websites, blogs, talking heads, and various other forms of political punditry. And so did you. No one saw Eric Cantor losing.
And of course if you look at the signs now, it all seems so obvious. The anti-Cantor rallies across the country, the fact that Cantor wasn’t necessarily campaigning as hard back home, the massive amounts of money being spent on an opponent like Brat; if you look at it now it all kind of makes sense. We all kind of bought into the narrative of the Tea Party losing elections this year and someone who is House Leader losing to a fringe candidate with very little cash would be just plain irrational. Even Cantor’s own internal polls had him beating Brat in double digits on the day of the election!
Actually all this reminds me of something I wrote regarding House Speaker John Boehner’s primary race. I wrote:
“Men like John Boehner don’t lose to guys like Winteregg. John Boehner’s loss will be the political equivalent to getting shot in the head by an 8 year-old-kid while buying a pack of smokes at the liquor store. John Boehner’s loss will be abrupt and no one will see it coming. Because that’s just how men like John Boehner lose elections.”
Guys, on Tuesday night Eric Cantor had the political equivalent of this happen to him…
And while this was going on, somewhere in America John Boehner woke up in a cold sweat. Because if someone like Cantor can go down, anyone is fair game. Or so it goes.