Tuesday, October 21, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Does a GOP leader’s defeat spell mid-term trouble for Republicans?

The stunning primary defeat Tuesday of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has left establishment Republicans scratching their heads and wondering what to do next. Cantor, a seven-term congressman who reportedly spent more than $167,000 on campaign events at steakhouses, lost to David Brat, an economics professor aligned with local tea party groups who spent just $122,000 on his entire campaign.

Among House Republicans, Cantor was a prime mover on immigration reform, which Brat criticized as “amnesty.” He was also viewed as a pro-business, generally conservative legislator – not necessarily a moderate or “Republican in Name Only.”

Does a tea party victory bode well or ill for Republican prospects in November? Is Cantor’s defeat significant beyond his own district? Could other Republican incumbents share Cantor’s fate? Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis, the Red-Blue America columnists, weigh in.

Ben Boychuk

It’s always nice to see a well-ensconced incumbent receive a nice thrashing, even if that incumbent happens to share one’s political outlook. Eric Cantor, it seems, got what he deserved. “Representative” Cantor forgot whom he was representing.

The second-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives is a bit like the well-travelled husband who took his wife for granted, then is stunned to arrive home one day to find that she’s packed up and moved in with her boyfriend.

Cantor took his district for granted. He was, by all accounts, rarely if ever there. Virginia’s legislature drew a safe Republican district for Cantor after the last Census, which he carried in the last election by a more than two-to-one margin. But his constituents – the people who actually cast the ballots, as opposed to the lobbyists who wrote his campaign checks – say they neither knew him nor trusted him.

So if you remember the old saw that “all politics is local,” then it’s really no wonder why Cantor lost.

Now, does Cantor’s primary defeat necessarily mean a tea party pick-up in November? David Brat, the surprise victor, is untested and (for the moment, anyway) underfunded. Political reporters and Democratic operatives – but I repeat myself – are poring over Brat’s writings, looking for evidence beyond his tea party sympathies that he is a lunatic, an extremist.

Also, it’s worth noting that Virginia has an open primary, which allows for Democrats to vote for Republicans, and vice versa. No doubt David Brat benefited greatly from Democratic voter mischief. He won’t be able to count on those votes in the general election.

The truth is, Cantor was a creature of Washington, at a time when voters are losing patience with Beltway shenanigans. Cantor’s support for some kind of compromise on comprehensive immigration reform didn’t help him, but it wasn’t what did him in, either. It was the casual contempt for his constituents – the ones that really matter – that brought him to ruin.

See? Sometimes democracy really does work.

Joel Mathis

Three quick lessons to take away from Eric Cantor’s defeat:

  • Our politics is screwed up. Maybe Eric Cantor deserved to be defeated – I’m a liberal, remember, so he was never my favorite member of Congress – but turnout for the primary election in Virginia last week was something like 12 percent of the electorate. Which means Cantor was turned out of office by roughly 6 percent of the electorate.

That’s astonishing; more so when you realize Cantor might’ve won re-election easily had he simply survived the primary.

Primaries attract the most committed partisans. The choices they make often look little like the choices we’d otherwise make for ourselves; but we’re stuck with their choices. It’s not healthy for our politics, our governance, or our collective bile levels. And it can hardly be described as “democracy at work.”

  • There’s some bit of disagreement whether immigration played a large role in Cantor’s loss. But overall, enough people believe that Cantor’s “softness” on the issue proved his undoing. That will terrify other Republicans. Which means immigration reform will never come through legislative means, even though polls show that most Americans want that reform.

Again, 6 percent of a Virginia district’s electorate has made this decision for the rest of us.

  • That said: No tears are shed here for Cantor, who at the end of the day became a victim of the no-compromise, no-surrender attitude in Washington that he did so much to foster.

Time and again in recent years, President Obama and Speaker John Boehner have come to agreements that would’ve pushed the nation in a rightward direction – entitlement reform, anyone? – only to be scuttled by Cantor and the tea party caucus as insufficiently conservative.

Those agreements never came to fruition. Republicans who wouldn’t settle for half a loaf didn’t end up with the whole thing. Nobody was happy with the budget deals that Obama and Congress did manage to put together. Cantor’s gone? Good riddance. But good riddance to the process that swept him out.

Ben Boychuk (bboychuk@city-journal.org) is associate editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal. Joel Mathis (joelmmathis@gmail.com) is associate editor for Philadelphia Magazine. Visit them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/benandjoel.

Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • JagJune 13, 2014 - 9:11 am

    Looks like one of the young guns got gun,, so to answer your first question what to do next? Move to the right because you will have no choice but until November please do nothing because anything establishment Republicans do try will be all bad, I also don’t agree with putting in Kevin McCarthy you should try to show the right you are trying to work with them and put in a tea party woman otherwise the fight will continue and the Dems will win 2016

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Crime key topic again at Fairfield candidates night

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5, 18 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Dixon corn maze breaks own world record

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A5 | Gallery

PAL center seeks volunteers

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Police Department hosts employee recognition event

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A5

.

US / World

Police say they might have spotted ambush suspect

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta dies at 82

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Yosemite proposes raising entrance, camping fees

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 2 Comments

 
CDC releases revised Ebola gear guidelines

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Clinton: Midterm elections should motivate women

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Surfer fends off shark attack with fist, board

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

WWII airman to be buried in Oakland

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

 
Brown: California needs long-term vision on water

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 4 Comments

Colorado proposes edible pot ban, then retreats

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 2 Comments

 
Submarine hunt sends Cold War chill across Baltic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Oscar Pistorius to finally learn his sentence

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Youths, tech workers duel over San Francisco field

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Suspect in Va. abduction charged in DC area rape

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Warming Earth heading for hottest year on record

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

Lacking a plan, Abbas opts for rhetoric

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Police: Indiana suspect hints at more killings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Turkey says it helps Kurdish fighters enter Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Nigeria declared Ebola-free; ‘spectacular success’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Urgent-care clinics ill-equipped to treat Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
British royal couples’ 2nd child due in April

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Opinion

Spering kept youth league going

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 5 Comments

 
Day, Blankenchip good for respective cities

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

‘Misleading’ mailer sent to residents

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Oct. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page:

 
.

Entertainment

Yearwood, Santana to perform at World Series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Standing ovation at Met Opera despite protest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

Still the Same: Bob Seger launching tour, album

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
San Francisco radio stations ban hit song ‘Royals’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Pitbull to host American Music Awards on Nov. 23

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ actor arrested in Idaho

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

NBC’s Snyderman faces credibility issues

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
Not so fast cordcutters – cable’s not going anywhere

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

TVGrid Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Sports

Local Report: Armijo boys soccer team falls to Vintage

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Steelers rally past stunned Texans 30-23

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Bumgarner against Shields in World Series opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Raiders plagued by 3rd-down defensive woes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Champion drag racer Raymond Beadle dies at 70

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Stiviano lawsuit against Shelly Sterling dismissed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

With TD mark in bag, Manning can set more records

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
49ers lose center Daniel Kilgore, needs surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Giants-Royals: A capsule look at World Series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Belichick, Brady praise Manning on TD record

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Penn State board to meet on disputed Freeh Report

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
McIlroy to skip 2 events to focus on lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Column: Keselowski marches to his own beat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Wanted: Cities interested in hosting 2024 Olympics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Giants rely on core of 4 relievers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Royals, fans bond over improbable postseason run

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Voynov suspended on domestic violence suspicion

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Business

Facebook sues law firms, claims fraud

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Apple reports record 39.3 million iPhone sales

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

US regulator: Fannie, Freddie in deal with banks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Sears plans to raise more cash via rights offering

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Survey: Pay raises rarer despite strong US hiring

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

 
US agency warns car owners to get air bags fixed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Pickles Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Bridge Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Sudoku Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Baby Blues Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C. Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Crossword Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Frank and Ernest Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Blondie Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Word Sleuth Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Garfield Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Rose is Rose Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Zits Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Cryptoquote Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Beetle Bailey Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6