Yesterday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost the Republican primary in his district in Virginia. It’s the first time since 1899 that a sitting House majority leader lost reelection, and probably the firs time ever it was because of a primary. That’s mostly because primaries as the democratic vehicles we know them as us a relatively new invention of the past few decades.
So, you’d think with such a newsy event that seems historical, there would be a lot to write about it. What lessons have we learned? How does this “titanic” political shift change the landscape? OMG WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR 2016?
Why did Cantor lose? He did not receive as many votes as his challenger, college professor Dave Brat. That’s really all we know. Sure, it looks like Cantor ran a pretty lackluster campaign. His district was recently re-gerrymandered to make it even more conservative, and therefore theoretically safer, but that may have had something to do with it. Truth is, in low-turnout strong-party primaries, there really isn’t much there there. Maybe three guys cared about “amnesty,” four ladies thought he looked like a douchebag, and another guy “heard” that he was a secret Muslin. That’s the election, folks.
Now, how does this tectonic event change the political landscape? Well, I guess Republicans have got to find a new majority leader.
Wait, that’s it? Yes. Look, everybody was all scared that Senator Lindsay Graham was going to suffer a strong tea-party challenge, but that never happened. These local events are local. There’s just no evidence that this “tea party back on the move” thing has any legs.
But! Immigration reform is now dead, right? Seriously, immigration was dead six years ago when a black Democrat was elected president, for the same reason that tax reform is dead, cap and trade is dead, unemployment insurance extensions are dead, job-creating bills are dead. Everything is dead, and the Republicans in congress made sure of that, even before the tea party happened. Rep. Cantor was not ever, ever, ever going to make immigration happen.
There, I wrote 354 words about what Cantor’s loss means. Thanks for stopping by.