Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Dave Brat's Defeat of Eric Cantor (Update)

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary election to a virtual unknown, Dave Brat. Not only lost, but was trounced, 55% to 45%. The primary reason that Cantor lost was his support of amnesty. However, the author of the aforementioned article predicts that we will soon see articles claiming that amnesty was NOT the issue, and it really was because Cantor just wasn't a good Representative. However, even the left understood that this was the key issue in the election--at least before Brat's victory. Jim Newell, writing at Salon just yesterday, observed:
The main flashpoint in the race, though, is immigration reform. Brat, like many in the conservative movement, sees Cantor and the House leadership as always one breath away from jamming amnesty and cheap Mexican labor down the throats of God-fearing White American people. Cantor, especially, since he’s a major fundraising conduit for the Republican business community, which wants to see immigration reform get done. Brat is playing off of these fears of What Cantor Might Do. “Eric Cantor doesn’t represent you and he doesn’t represent … the 7th District of Virginia,” Brat has been saying on the trail. “Eric Cantor represents large corporations who want a never-ending supply of cheap, low-wage foreign labor … Eric Cantor saying he opposes amnesty is like Barack Obama saying he opposes Obamacare.”
Now the spin is in, just as predicted in the Daily Caller article cited above. The National Review reports:
A spokesman for President Obama rushed to assure House Republicans that Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) didn’t actually lose because of his gestures toward Democrats on immigration reform. 
“Cantor’s problem wasn’t his position on immigration reform, it was his lack of a position,” Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer tweeted, citing the primary triumph tonight by Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.). “Graham wrote and passed a bill and is winning big.”
 In a different National Review article, the author writes:
While Cantor’s loss was a stunning surprise, the warning signals were around for a while:  
1. Cantor managed to muddle his message on immigration. His direct-mail pieces claimed he was foursquare against amnesty. But the newspapers covering Washington, D.C., quoted him as saying he was seeking a compromise with President Obama on immigration. ... 
2. The majority leader outspent his opponent, David Brat, by $5 million to $120,000. Much of that money went to negative ads against Brat that turned off voters and were so vitriolic as not to be credible. 
3. Cantor was also hurt by a subterranean campaign by Democrats to convince their supporters to vote in the Republican primary against Cantor. Apparently, some of them did. 
4. Many constituents of Eric Cantor felt he had ignored them for years, rarely returning home and often ignoring them on key issues ranging from expanding Medicare prescription-drug benefits to TARP bank bailouts. The frustration boiled over at a May party meeting in his district, where Cantor was booed and his ally was ousted from his post as local party chair by a tea-party insurgent. “He did one thing in Washington and then tried to confuse us as to what he did when he came back to his district,” one Republican primary voter told me.
Update:  The Washington Post claims that Cantor's loss is a blow to big business. It notes:
While everyone is focused on Brat's critique of Cantor's immigration stance, that attack came in the broader context of the increasingly potent "crony capitalism" theme. For instance, Brat went after Cantor specifically for his support of strengthening the H1B visa program, a policy especially favored by tech companies such as Facebook since it allows them to hire more engineers from overseas. Critics have said that the program allows firms to seek cheaper labor to maximize profits and puts foreign workers ahead of Americans.

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