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June 11, 2014

The Cantor Race as Rorschach Test

So, the big news this morning is that Eric Cantor, long considered a rising star in the Republican House, was defeated in the VA primaries by an Econ professor with a tiny campaign staff armed with assault flip-phones and no prior experience in elective office.

Depending on which set of articles or posts one reads, this could be Very Good or Very Bad for America. It's either A Really Important Sign of Something Incredibly Important, or an electoral fluke with no clear meaning.

Clearly, Cantor lost because he was overconfident and didn't try hard enough. Steak was undoubtedly a big factor, and also possibly Democrats and Independents voting in an open primary with low turnout.

In an alternate universe, he overspent and overplayed his hand, unintentionally providing his relatively unknown opponent free advertising and valuable name recognition.

Take your pick: theories and speculation are thick upon the ground this morning.

Cantor's defeat proves that the Tea Party is still alive and kicking. Inexplicably, Lindsey Graham's primary proves nothing about the viability or future prospects of the Tea Party. Oddly, this is one thing folks from both the Left and Right seem to agree upon.

Now that the primary results are in and we know what yesterday's future held in store for the GOP, the ceremonial reading of the Tea Leaves (get that? Tea as in "Tea Party"?) can finally begin. Unserious people like yours truly might be tempted to think that reading tea leaves when one already knows the future is a bit unsporting. But what do we know?

The utter absurdity of comparing a GOP Congresscritter who was willing to consider amnesty to a revered GOP leader who also supported amnesty has been duly noted.

One thing is for certain: the Tea Party is definitely not dead. Unlike immigration reform, which is not-merely-but-quite-severely dead.

Of course some are saying it was already dead before Brat's victory. In which case he can't very well be charged with its murder, can he?

What's your theory? Have at it in the comments section, Haters :)

Posted by Cassandra at June 11, 2014 08:38 AM

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My theory is that Cantor hired very bad pollsters, since his internals were so far off the mark. It's the political analog to a military commander who is issuing orders in response to completely inaccurate reports from the field. He ends up pulling back in areas where he was winning, sending reinforcements where they are not needed, committing his reserves to areas where he cannot win.

It's still kind of surprising he lost, because the advantages of incumbents are so large. It sounds like he managed to alienate most of the base -- while everyone is talking about immigration this morning, the VCDL sent an email pointing out that he was nowhere to be found on gun rights, either. They say they felt they were being taken for granted.

Posted by: Grim at June 11, 2014 11:39 AM

So you do see the defeat as representative of what 7th district voters think in general (IOW, not that more motivated voters have more impact in a low turnout primary)?

I tried to find some numbers this morning and was unable to. Perhaps later.

I haven't really got a theory yet. I am extremely skeptical that a low turnout primary gives an accurate picture of what the electorate at large thinks, but that's more a suspicion than a conviction. I won't be able to evaluate it until I see some numbers.

Posted by: Cass at June 11, 2014 11:54 AM

What do you think about his campaign asking his supporters to recruit Dems and Independents to vote against Cantor?

Is this an "all's fair in war" tactic? I'm skeptical that it had much effect but also don't think much of the tactic.

Posted by: Cass at June 11, 2014 11:56 AM

As we were discussing ref. the "Jungle primary," which Tex posted about recently, I think we have gerrymandered our system to such a degree that the primary is often the real race. It makes a lot of sense for Democrats in Cantor's district to vote in the Republican primary, if they want to influence who their representative could be. There are other districts -- Pelosi's, say -- where no Republican is ever going to be elected. Unless you are happy having your vote simply made null, you'd have to vote in the opposing primary. It's the only way to have an effect.

That's the real idea behind the elections anyway: to make sure the citizens in a given area have a voice in choosing their leaders. The parties have tried to eliminate as much of that voice as possible via these gerrymandering solutions, so as to create sinecures for themselves. Voters ought to feel free to resist those mechanisms, which aren't a legitimate part of the system. Nothing in any constitution says that a party should be able to carve out a place where only members of that party can win. Where they have nevertheless done so, voters -- citizens -- should do what they can to continue to exercise the influence that they were always supposed to have.

Posted by: Grim at June 11, 2014 12:27 PM

Hey - I found something! And it's very interesting. Voter turnout was actually UP (not down) and at least according to this source, part of that surge may have been Democrats trying to keep Cantor (who they view as a bigger threat) out of the race:

Increased voter turnout in the Republican primary may have resulted in Cantor's defeat. In 2012, 47,037 votes were cast compared to 65,008 votes in the June 10, 2014, primary, an increase of 38.2 percent. Despite the tea party's high profile primaries in 2010 and 2012, Cantor is the highest-ranking Republican to lose a primary election since the movement's rise. He is also the first majority leader in history to lose a primary bid.[13] Virginia has an open primary process, in which registered voters do not have to be members of a party to vote in that party's primary. With the Democrats in the 7th District having already nominated their candidate at a convention on June 7, they were free to vote in the Republican primary on Tuesday.[14] The 17,900 additional voters casting a ballot in this year's Republican primary relative to in 2012 could be a result of Democrats voting in an attempt to unseat Cantor.

http://ballotpedia.org/Virginia's_7th_Congressional_District_elections,_2014

Posted by: Cassandra at June 11, 2014 12:32 PM

Nothing in any constitution says that a party should be able to carve out a place where only members of that party can win. Where they have nevertheless done so, voters -- citizens -- should do what they can to continue to exercise the influence that they were always supposed to have.

On the other hand, if elections can be swayed by the other party sending tons of its voters to the polls to knock out whoever they view as the biggest threat to their candidate...

Not exactly what elections are supposed to be about.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 11, 2014 12:34 PM

It makes a lot of sense for Democrats in Cantor's district to vote in the Republican primary, if they want to influence who their representative could be.

And if I agreed that such voting was taking place in good faith, I'd agree with you. I've seen no evidence of such good faith from the DNC :p

Posted by: Cassandra at June 11, 2014 12:35 PM

Looks like the district has been represented by Republicans exclusively since 1971, and hasn't voted for a Democrat for statewide office but once since 1996 -- in a race in which the Republican candidate statewide only got 33.7% of the vote.

So maybe it'll be easier to beat Brat; but they're going to need all the help they can get!

Posted by: Grim at June 11, 2014 12:38 PM

And if I agreed that such voting was taking place in good faith, I'd agree with you. I've seen no evidence of such good faith from the DNC

Well, fair enough, but the DNC doesn't vote. Citizens vote. How much does the RNC's opinion influence your vote? You tend towards the establishment side of the party, I think, but I never got the impression that you weren't thinking for yourself.

Posted by: Grim at June 11, 2014 12:40 PM

Here we're given both ballots and you choose which one you're going to vote on - no matter your registered party affiliation. Unfortunately, that was just one of the *tools* used by Baucus and the DNC to defeat Rehberg in the last House election.
Tis a two-edged sword.

Posted by: DL Sly at June 11, 2014 12:45 PM

You tend towards the establishment side of the party, I think, but I never got the impression that you weren't thinking for yourself.

That's not true, though. Not even close. I rarely even know (or care) what the "establishment" side of the GOP thinks or cares about.

First of all, I'm a registered independent and have been almost all of my adult life. The only exception was during the Bush years, post 2000-2008. That's the only time I've actively supported the GOP/RNC, though they've almost always managed to win my vote.

I really dislike the whole framing of "establishment" in the first place.

I tend to assume that the person who is actually DOING a job knows more about what that job entails and what it takes to succeed than someone who is speaking from a position of utter ignorance and inexperience. If I have enough information to make up my own mind, I do so. If I know I don't know much about an issue and I have to make a call on who is likely to know more about it, I'm usually going to assume that - on average - people closer to the action know more about it.

But sadly, we've grown so fond of "my side/their side" that such distinctions are mostly lost.

In a little over 5 decades of living, I have found that talk is easy and action is haaaaard.

I've also found that people have opinions on all sorts of things, often regardless of whether they actually know anything about them or have any firsthand experience dealing with the issue in question. So absolutely - I am skeptical of people who - in my estimation - don't know much or have never actually done something. In real life, I have found such skepticism justified more often than not :p

If that's being "pro-establishment", well, so be it. Just seems like common sense to me.

On a more amusing note, the Democrat challenger is also a college prof. So we have two academicians with no experience running against each other.

What could possibly go wrong? :p

Posted by: Cass at June 11, 2014 01:00 PM

On a more amusing note, the Democrat challenger is also a college prof.

I understand that he's a historian, whereas Brat is an economist. Taken with Thucydides' dictum that the best man is the one raised in the strictest school: Advantage Democrats!

Posted by: Grim at June 11, 2014 01:04 PM

Here we're given both ballots and you choose which one you're going to vote on - no matter your registered party affiliation. Unfortunately, that was just one of the *tools* used by Baucus and the DNC to defeat Rehberg in the last House election.
Tis a two-edged sword.

Interesting.

It seems to me that a system like VA's allows a vocal minority to throw the election. At least in your state they give up the ability to vote for *their* guy/gal - VA voters got to vote in their primary and then got to vote in the Rethug one too (if I understand it, and I'll readily admit I may not, having only skimmed the article I linked earlier).

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Posted by: Cass at June 11, 2014 01:04 PM

Howard Zinn was a historian too :p

Posted by: Cass at June 11, 2014 01:05 PM

That's not true, though. Not even close. I rarely even know (or care) what the "establishment" side of the GOP thinks or cares about.

Well, I must have gotten that impression from the manner in which you often end up siding with establishment candidates over insurgent ones.

But in a way, that's my point. The RNC exercises no influence on your opinion, even though you end up supporting their preferred candidates a lot of the time. I'm not sure the DNC exercises any more influence over Democratic voters -- even loyalists. The union may; a sense of ethnic loyalty may; a sense of economic interest (especially for those on public assistance).

The DNC? Their leading spokeswoman is so incredible that even Democrats mock her.

Posted by: Grim at June 11, 2014 01:07 PM

Here we're given both ballots and you choose which one you're going to vote on - no matter your registered party affiliation. Unfortunately, that was just one of the *tools* used by Baucus and the DNC to defeat Rehberg in the last House election.

Georgia is like Sly's state, except you don't register a party affiliation at all. You show up, and they say, "Republican or Democrat?" Then they give you whichever ballot you ask for, and note in their records which you took (in case there is a runoff -- you can't vote in the Democratic primary and then come back and vote in a Republican runoff, for example).

I sometimes vote in the Republican primary for reasons of local elections: this area is so gerrymandered for Republicans that I can't vote for a viable candidate for sheriff or county commissioner if I don't vote in that primary. But I normally vote in the Democratic primary insofar as I care about statewide or national elections. We still have some good Democrats in Georgia, and it would be healthful for the party and the country if more elected Democrats were Southern conservatives. It would tend to act as a balance against the worst tendencies of that party.

Posted by: Grim at June 11, 2014 01:10 PM

Howard Zinn was a historian too.

True. And Schumpeter was an economist. Still, the standards are tougher in history than economics. You can expect your work to be checked against actual facts and records, which is why several prominent historians have been discredited over the last two decades.

Economic theories, by contrast, last forever. There are still Marxists!

Posted by: Grim at June 11, 2014 01:12 PM

Here's the way I see this whole thing:

1. I don't particularly like Cantor. In fact, for some reason I can't put my finger on, I'm disposed to dislike him.

2. From what I've seen so far, I don't like Brat either :p

These are gut reactions, not reasoned conclusions.

3. Cantor was an effective rep and a very talented politician. This matters, I think.

4. He was, according to what I've read, "swept into office by the Tea Party" and, if some of what I've read today is correct, was just "swept right back out by the Tea Party". FWIW, I'm suspicious of both claims :p

5. His voting record on key issues is actually quite conservative.

6. Brat has no voting record. And no experience. And apparently, had no real campaign org to speak of.

So what I'm seeing here is that conservatives just lost a guy who was on the fast track to become speaker and was good at his job and replaced him with an unknown who may or may not live up to his own campaign hype and will start out at the bottom of the ladder with almost no influence or power.

If you're a single issue voter (guns, amnesty) or if you feel Cantor had his eye on bigger and better things than just representing his constituents, maybe that seems like a good trade. Again, I'm doubtful that it is. Seems like a great case of winning the battle but damaging the war effort.

But I can easily see why someone would disagree with me. And I freely admit I have not paid much attention to this race.

I just can't help being amused by all this monday am quarterbacking. Reminds me of all the folks who were angst-ridden that Romney had "blown" the presidential race, or that Obama's organizational skills won the day.

Years later, I've read quite a bit of analysis that suggests that wasn't the case at all. But there's a huge market for instant analysis on the internet.

You can put me into the "wait and see" camp. How big an influence will Brat have on national politics compared to Cantor? Will this be a net improvement or not?

From where I type, it's early days to be setting off fireworks and looking for signs that this means something big :p

Posted by: Cass at June 11, 2014 01:28 PM

Grim, it's well known that you don't like economics. But history is full of conflicting "facts", as any historian will tell you.

We'll have to agree to disagree about the relative value of the two disciplines. I would never dream of just dismissing history. Economics is a huge part of history, and I think it is probably wise to try understand something that has such a huge impact on current and past events.

That's all any academic discipline does - try to understand. History is no exception.

Posted by: Cass at June 11, 2014 01:32 PM

It's not that I don't like economics. I hold economic theories myself -- chiefly Schumpeter's, which I think are well-proven for the most part. What I tend to object to is the way in which people privilege it as a field. The Right privileges it too much, treating the market as a kind of natural law that can justify many things that are not morally justifiable; the Left privileges it not enough, adopting moral positions that no one can possibly pay for or that will destroy the means of production (except the Marxists who consider economics terribly important, but who are just wrong about how it works).

In terms of academic disciplines, though, I think there's more "discipline" in history than in economics as a field. That's nothing to do with anything other than my sense of which disciplines are rigorous. Parts of philosophy are quite rigorous; parts of it are entirely without rigor. (Still other parts -- gender studies, for example -- have an intense rigor, but an improper one: the rigor is coming from emotion rather than logic or fact).

Anyway, it was meant as a light comment, since you were riffing off them both being college professors. :)

Posted by: Grim at June 11, 2014 02:06 PM

Grim, I think you need make more use of that smile of yours when your just "riffing"....you're such a serious dude (heh, I said Dude) that I know I take a vast majority of your comments seriously upon first reading.
Besides, it's such a nice smile.
0>;~]

Posted by: DL Sly at June 11, 2014 02:33 PM

The Right privileges it too much, treating the market as a kind of natural law that can justify many things that are not morally justifiable; the Left privileges it not enough, adopting moral positions that no one can possibly pay for or that will destroy the means of production (except the Marxists who consider economics terribly important, but who are just wrong about how it works).

I basically agree with this. We tend to fetishize economics and markets to what I think is an unhealthy degree. Romney actually had it right here - we DO need regulation because markets are no different from any other human endeavor - people use them to commit crimes and do bad things.

The right question isn't "should markets be regulated at all" (and sadly there are way too many people on the right who would answer no), but something more like:

1. To what degree should markets be regulated?

2. Will the regulation achieve the desired result?

FWIW, I don't think history is any more rigorous a discipline than economics. They are very different disciplines and neither of them is really capable of settling most questions definitively absent blatant appeals to authority :p

At best, they provide a structured way of looking at various issues and hopefully incorporate facts into what would otherwise be little more than an unseemly brawl.

Posted by: Cass at June 11, 2014 02:36 PM

In Montana you register your party for the general elections, but in the primaries you're given both ballots with the instruction to fill out only one and put it in the official folder while you leave the other in the first. When you are done voting, you personally put your ballot into the machine and the voting official shreds the other.

Posted by: DL Sly at June 11, 2014 02:45 PM

Sly,

My father once said something similar to that when I was a boy. Apparently not smiling is a habit of mine. But I do make merry now and again!

Posted by: Grim at June 11, 2014 03:16 PM

Like you I really don't know what Cantor's loss means.

Maybe it's sabotage by Democrats, thinking that Brat is easier to beat. Maybe Dems just didn't want Cantor in a House Leadership position and a less influential, but perhaps further rightward candidate was a better trade for them. Maybe Brat and Cantor were virtually identical except on Amnesty and Cantor really ticked off his constituents on that issue.

I'm not too worried on the experience front in the House. It's more important in the Senate and very important for the POTUS. But the House was designed to be closer to the people and less august in nature. A representative is only one of 435. A college professor is hardly the worst qualification to come through there.

What I'm more interested to see is how the GOP reacts to Brat. By all accounts I've seen, Brat is hardly a fire-breathing scorched-earth extremist hell bent on starting the purges.


He does lack for money and campaign organization. So I wonder if the RNC will support him, both financially and logistically. Or will they throw him under the bus out of spite?

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at June 11, 2014 03:21 PM

Apparently not smiling is a habit of mine.

That, and threatening to shoot/hang people.

Makes it hard to sort the wheat from the chaff sometimes :p

Posted by: Cass at June 11, 2014 03:21 PM

That, and threatening to shoot/hang people.

Surely I don't often threaten to shoot or hang people! Not ones who go unshot, anyway.

Now, I may from time to time suggest that I think it would be right, just, or proper to shoot or hang people. Certainly that's true. Generally I'm thinking as a potential juror, though, rather than a potential assassin. :)

Posted by: Grim at June 11, 2014 03:29 PM

I'm not too worried on the experience front in the House. It's more important in the Senate and very important for the POTUS. But the House was designed to be closer to the people and less august in nature. A representative is only one of 435.

A lot of the work of the House goes on in committees and working groups, so I can't agree here. Access matters if you want to have influence. So does networking. That's how things get done in DC and pretty much everywhere else on the planet.

This is what astounds me when I see people seriously believing candidates who promise to change Washington (when they have zero experience with Washington). Why would anyone take such claims seriously? I've never figured that one out.

...I wonder if the RNC will support him, both financially and logistically. Or will they throw him under the bus out of spite?

Well, if they do that then they are really stupid because that would mean losing a solidly Red district in a state that used to be Red but is rapidly turning purple. I imagine that whether they like it or not, they'll be able to see the upside of supporting him.

Posted by: Cass at June 11, 2014 03:37 PM

Maybe Dems just didn't want Cantor in a House Leadership position and a less influential, but perhaps further rightward candidate was a better trade for them.

Bingo.

Posted by: Cass at June 11, 2014 03:40 PM

A lot of the work of the House goes on in committees and working groups, so I can't agree here. Access matters if you want to have influence. So does networking.

True, but a lot of the work on college campuses goes on in committees and working groups. Access matters if you want to have influence there, too. So does networking.

In fact, that's true in just about any industry.

But the power in the House is rarely in an individual. It's too big for that. The power are in voting blocks. It doesn't much matter how awesome you are in the committees if you can't get those 30 stubborn outsiders in your own party to vote with you. The House is a team sport. The quarterback may be the high glamour star with lots of power, but he still can't go around pissing on his no-name linemen.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at June 11, 2014 04:00 PM

YAG, I agree with you. But I can't see that the 7th District of VA has increased its power or influence in Congress with this trade.

Which is why I excerpted that part of your previous comment at 3:40 :)

Posted by: Cass at June 11, 2014 04:04 PM

Well, VA7 may well have traded a quarterback for a lineman.

That's not always a bad trade. Cantor isn't the only quarterback on the team.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at June 11, 2014 04:09 PM

Quarterbacks and linemen don't represent Congressional districts, though.

A better analogy might be replacing an experienced quarterback with a rookie one on the promise that the rookie would be able to get the team into the SuperBowl this year.

It's a fine sounding promise, but is it worth anything?

Posted by: Cass at June 11, 2014 04:37 PM

Oh, and by "rookie" I mean "someone who has never actually played football" :p

Posted by: Cass at June 11, 2014 04:37 PM

Quarterbacks and linemen don't represent Congressional districts, though.

Actually, I think they do. At least as the body collectively acts at the national level. At the local level perhaps each district's representative is that district's quarterback.

But that's not the case nationally. The Speaker is the majority party's quarterback, a few other high power players may be thought of as running backs and receivers, but a great many representatives are nameless, faceless lineman.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at June 11, 2014 05:04 PM

Being female and generally not terribly interested in/knowledgeable about football, I must defer to your superior Sports-Fu, Obi-YAG :p

Posted by: Cass at June 11, 2014 05:15 PM

That is, unless you think Cantor's shoes couldn't possibly be filled by one of the other 230ish Republicans that will be in the House that isn't named Brat.

Maybe it was a bad trade. Maybe it was a good one. I have been trying to avoid the electoral politics of late, so I *really* haven't followed VAs primaries.

But my general outlook is that no one single person is irreplacable in such a large organization. A Fortune 50 company fires it's CFO and promotes the underlings and the new hire is working desktop support rarely has much effect on the company.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at June 11, 2014 05:27 PM

Being female and generally not terribly interested in/knowledgeable about football, I must defer to your superior Sports-Fu, Obi-YAG :p

:-)

The general point is that while the Rep might be the leader in his particular district, within the larger house there are still leaders and followers. Not all 435 representatives are leaders. They do not need to be, nor would that even be desirous if they were. Followers are important and necessary. Replacing a third tier (albeit promising) leader with a dedicated follower is not definitionally a bad exchange.

It could be. It just doesn't *have* to be.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at June 11, 2014 05:41 PM

CIO, not CFO.

Alternatively, junior financial analyst, not desktop support.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at June 11, 2014 05:44 PM

I take your point, YAG, and I agree with it. I really do. There are very few scenarios in life that I'd be inclined to say are always good or always bad.

But in this case, I am generally inclined to think that "At least MY rep voted the way I wanted him/her to!" is probably a lot less valuable than "My rep is in a position to really shape the debate and lead my party".

I am also inclined to discount campaign rhetoric, especially from a guy with no track record and no experience. When he wildly exaggerates his opponent's actual position on amnesty and urges his followers to round up Dems to vote in the Republican primary (now *why* on earth would Democrats - who mostly favor amnesty! - be willing to do that? Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh crap.....), I personally do not see A Man of Principle and Integrity.

But that's just me. All I can do is explain my thinking. And it's very tentative thinking at this point. I'm perfectly willing to (and will be delighted) be proven wrong.

Posted by: Cass at June 11, 2014 06:19 PM

If nothing else, the Virginia election shows that we're sometimes too quick to assume that the fix is in, and there's no point putting effort into primaries. Even an extremely powerful and well-financed politician can get too complacent. It would have been easy for Brat to say he couldn't be bothered to run. As long as someone will run, the voters have only to show up in order to have an impact.

Posted by: Texan99 at June 11, 2014 06:28 PM

Tex, I almost put something at the end of my post to the effect of, "Showing up still matters".

Glad you made the point :)

Posted by: Cass at June 11, 2014 06:33 PM

Actually, it turns out Jack Trammell is a sociologist, not a historian. Advantage: Republicans!

:), for Sly.

Posted by: Grim at June 11, 2014 06:54 PM

Also, as the Daily Caller figured out early, this race gives us an unusual opportunity to compare and contrast the candidates using a neutral, non-political system: RateMyProfessor.com.

Posted by: Grim at June 11, 2014 06:56 PM

Cantor was my congressman. The people who voted him out are my neighbors. Those neighbors are proof that idiocy is alive and well and living in Virginia. Nicely done, morons.

Posted by: spd rdr at June 11, 2014 08:04 PM

Grim,
Aww, thanks!
Now if only we could figure out a good emoticon representation of a Stetson for you....
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at June 11, 2014 09:06 PM

Posted by: Grim at June 11, 2014 09:18 PM

Hm, that one didn't work -- the page interpreted as HTML code because it led with a pointy bracket.

Maybe:

{=|:-)

Posted by: Grim at June 11, 2014 09:19 PM

"This is what astounds me when I see people seriously believing candidates who promise to change Washington (when they have zero experience with Washington). Why would anyone take such claims seriously? I've never figured that one out. "

This would suggest to some of us, though, that there are fundamentally two types of politicians: those too inexperienced to effect change, and those too corrupted by their experience to wish to do so...

Posted by: Matt at June 11, 2014 10:38 PM

My Congresscritter is currently the majority whip (McCarthy CA 23rd). I'll be curious to see if he moves up to the majority leader position. He's somewhat of a centrist, and from what tea leaves I've seen is not totally against some form of amnesty.

It should be interesting.

Posted by: Allen at June 12, 2014 12:45 AM

One last fuming rant about Cantor's defeat: It's becoming a bit clearer that Brat received a fairly large number of votes from Democrats(Virginia is an "open primary" state). In fact, they even had a catch phrase: "Vote ABC" - "Anybody but Cantor." Now, do you really thinkk that these folks were voting for Brat because Cantor wasn't "conservative enough" to suit the fat mouths on the radio? Do you think that these Democrats were voting for Brat because Cantor supported "amnesty" for illegal aliens? Do you think that these Democrats voted for Brat because Cantor was too concilliatory in his dealings with the Obama administration? Stupid stupid stupid. Goddammit.

Thank you.

Posted by: spd rdr at June 12, 2014 08:29 AM

My Congresscritter is currently the majority whip (McCarthy CA 23rd). I'll be curious to see if he moves up to the majority leader position. He's somewhat of a centrist, and from what tea leaves I've seen is not totally against some form of amnesty.

I am reminded of the progressive yammering to impeach the Shrub during the Evil Bu$Hitler Era....

...the result of which would have been to hand the Presidency to Darth Cheney - a guy they hated and feared even more than Bush. From what I can see Cantor wasn't an amnesty supporter, but his replacement may be?

...do you really think that these folks were voting for Brat because Cantor wasn't "conservative enough" to suit the fat mouths on the radio?

spd, are you seriously implying that most Democrats *aren't* avid fans of Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh? :p This is shocking news indeed.

The military has an old saying: "The enemy gets a vote, too". Any time your avowed enemies vote the same way you do, a few red flags ought to be raised in the old brain housing group. There may be a benign explanation (Reagan Democrats, anyone?) but as we're so often told, any attempt to appeal to anything but the Republican base*** is presumptive evidence of being someone who will say anything to get elected.

No one would ever mislead the base, though. Because politicians never do things like that. It's not as though they had a reputation for telling people what they want to hear.

Posted by: Cass at June 12, 2014 09:49 AM

But in this case, I am generally inclined to think that "At least MY rep voted the way I wanted him/her to!" is probably a lot less valuable than "My rep is in a position to really shape the debate and lead my party".

My general disposition is that MY rep is pretty unimportant one way or the other. To me it looks like maximizing locally at the possible expense of maximizing nationally.

Replacing Cantor with someone who *may* be more open to amnesty doesn't seem like much of a problem. Whether this was already the case before or not I don't know, but it does increasingly seem like the rank and file won't support it. A leftward change in leadership won't matter if the rank and file are, even on margin, less likely to budge. It's only a loss if you think the new more leftward leadership could move the rank and file to support that agenda.

Maybe they could. I don't know.

All I know is that if you fire the CIO, who is replaced by the Sr Systems Architect, who is replaced by the Jr Systems Architect, who is replaced by..., who is replaced by a new college graduate with no work experience for Desktop Support, comparing the outgoing CIOs qualifications against the new guy's qualifications isn't the right way to measure the impact of the change.

It's only the correct comparison if you give the new guy with no experience the CIOs job. If that were the case, I would agree that the decision was disasterous.

I don't think we'll know whether it was a good decision or a bad one until at least the general election. And if he wins until 6 months or more after he is seated.

But I'm still fearful the RNC could throw Brat under the bus so they could come back and say "I told you the Tea Party was too extreme to win".

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at June 12, 2014 10:48 AM

Grim,
I love it!
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at June 12, 2014 01:49 PM

I found this Allahpundit analysis of Cantor's loss persuasive:

http://hotair.com/archives/2014/06/11/did-cantor-really-lose-because-of-immigration/

Posted by: Texan99 at June 12, 2014 04:41 PM

Another satisfied Brat supporter chimes in.


To the Editor:

In Virginia, anyone can vote in primaries, regardless of party affiliation. I am a Democrat who lives in the Seventh District, and I voted for David Brat as an anti-Eric Cantor vote. I know that there were many Democrats who did the same thing. I don’t know if people like us swung this vote or not, but we’re happy he’s out.

JONATHAN ANSELL
Henrico, Va., June 11, 2014

Well, Mr. Ansell, out of 65,008 votes cast, Brat's margin of victory was 7212 votes. Even applying generally accepted Democratic voting procedures, you'd still need somewhere between 800 and 1100 Democrats to cast that many votes, which would mean emptying the jails again! Nah. McAuliffe would never go for that. Not just for a primary.
So, sure, Johnathan, it's possible that a few bus loads of Democratic dipwads like yourself swung the primary to Brat. But isn't the question that Democrats really should be asking themselves is: "What drug was I taking when voting for Dave Brat seemed like such a good idea to a Democrat?" Gee, I really hope you can remember, because you're probably going to need more... soon.

Posted by: spd rdr at June 12, 2014 07:12 PM

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