It looks like somebody forgot to tell Virginia voters that the Tea Party is dead. Eric Cantor, number two in the House Republican leadership, just became ground zero in the fight to stop comprehensive immigration reform, known to rational people as amnesty.
Over the next few days Democrats and so-called moderate Republicans will be flooding the airwaves with several memes.
- It was low turnout.
- Cantor ran a lousy campaign.
- Cantor shunned voters in his district.
- Cantor’s position on immigration only hurt him because he wasn’t far enough left.
- Immigration reform was dead anyway because Republicans are racists.
Blah, blah, blah.
Certainly there is some truth in the first three points, but…
it was a low turnout election, about 12% of registered voters showed up at the polls. What the pundits won’t tell you is that the turnout was 50% higher this year than two years ago when Cantor carried 79% of the vote. In fact, Cantor received fewer votes this year than he did two years ago. In the last primary Cantor won 37,369 votes, this year, less than 29,000.
Cantor ran a lousy campaign and he shunned voters in his district. Yes, he did and yes he did. On the other hand, Cantor has 100% name recognition and his opponent was likely mistaken for either a hotdog like food or a snotty kid (Dave Brat.) Mr. Brad has no experience in retail politics, he’s a faculty member teaching economics at a local college. (His Democratic opponent teaches at the same college.) Then there’s the money factor. The actual dollars spent by the candidates is hard to determine at this point, there are numbers all over the lot. As of their FEC filings in the middle of May, Brat had spent $122,793, while Cantor had spent $5,026,626, or over 40 times as much. There are other estimates that have Cantor spending only about $2.5 million, but when all is said and done, Cantor had the incumbent’s advantage in money. It didn’t matter.
Our favorite headline on the subject of money comes from HotAir: Cantor spent $168,000 at steakhouses; Dave Brat spent $122,000 overall.
Bottom line, those excuses are just that, excuses. Did they influence some votes? Absolutely. Heck, if you look hard enough you’ll probably find somebody who voted against Cantor because he’s a Jooooooooooo. Did they swing the election to Brat? Absolutely not. You can expect the losers to be trotting out some new and even more clever excuses over the next week or so, they need to be able to deny reality.
So, what is reality? Reality is that Cantor’s push for immigration reform amnesty cost him the election. You’re probably asking how The Curmudgeon could possibly know that. It’s easy. Just listen to the White House and Senate Democrats. To paraphrase whoever wrote Shakespeare, the opposition doth protest too much, methinks. They were Barry-on-the-spot with their cries that Cantor lost because he was straddling the line, declaring his opposition to amnesty while trying to work with the President. Just look at Lindsay Graham, the guy who led the Gang of Eight! He won his Senate primary in a walk!
Graham won for lots of reasons we’re not going to go into here, but his position on immigration reform amnesty wasn’t one of them.
Dave Brat successfully made this primary battle about amnesty. He was so successful, he forced Cantor to respond, and he responded with mailers and statements that were outright lies. They were so bad, Brat didn’t have to point them out, the local media did the job for him. That would be the local media that supported Cantor.
We’re going to close with what Dave Brat had to say about his victory. Mr. Brat is not some fire breathing Tea Party lunatic, he just happens to be a very thoughtful, well spoken gentleman. A college professor in the mold of college professors of old, way back when they taught, rather than indoctrinated, their students.
“The entire amnesty and low-wage agenda collapses if Cantor loses — all the billions of special interests dollars, all the favors, all the insider dealing — all of it is stopped in its tracks tomorrow if the patriotic working families of Virginia send Eric Cantor back home tomorrow.
Tomorrow, the middle class has its chance to fight back.
Tomorrow, the people of Virginia can show up to the polls and defeat the entire crony corporate lobby.
Tomorrow, we can restore our borders, rebuild our communities, and revitalize our middle class.”
That sounds like Change We Can Believe In!
Oh, and we’re not worried about a Democrat winning Cantor’s seat, not only is Brat a well spoken, thoughtful candidate, he’s also in a a district that Barack Obama got 43% of the votes in 2012, back when he was popular.