It’s a joyous day in Virginia. After 14 years in office, our 7th District Republican congressman and House majority leader Eric Cantor LOST the primary to a tea party elected-office newbie named David Brat — by 11 points.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch headline screamed: CANTOR OUT.
In my county, Cantor lost by about 22 points (5,924 to 7,226). My vote was one of them.
OK, I confess. I pulled a cross-over. Yesterday I boldly walked through the valley of the gun-loving bigots (who were all jovial and friendly, I might add) to vote for Brat in the hope our Democratic contender could easily defeat him.
In Virginia you don’t have to claim a party affiliation. Democrats have no primary this year because our candidate was sort of drafted because nobody wanted to run against Cantor, so why not mess with the Republicans?
Contrary to the simplistic rationales TV talking heads are spouting for this “shocking” and “historic” upset, there were probably 3 main factors in play…
1. Cantor’s constituents shared his conceit that he was invincible, and didn’t bother to vote.
2. Democrats like me got strategic and voted for a Republican we may beat.
3. The 7th District just made a sharp right turn toward BatShitCrazyville.
Cantor has only himself to blame for his downfall. For years he’s presided over a sprawling, spotty district with an almost hand-picked conservative majority. He’s played gerrymandering to the hilt.
But this made Cantor cocky. Too cocky.
Leading up to the primary, Cantor refused to lower himself to debate Brat. His campaign spent a bundle on TV and print to spew the lie that Brat’s a liberal.
It became an unseemly display of a lavishly-funded Washington fat-cat squashing the underdog like a bug, with utter disregard for the truth. Possibly, it disgusted even diehard Cantor supporters. That, coupled with Cantor’s inability to do anything in DC except waste taxpayer dollars on umpteen futile votes to repeal Obamacare and find creative ways to feather his own nest and nurture his political ambitions, spelled defeat.
Cantor himself was so blinded by hubris, I don’t think he saw it coming until the numbers rolled in last night.
Brat will run against Jack Trammell. They’re both new to elected office, both professors at Randolph-Macon College, Brat in economics, Trammell in sociology.
Brat’s running on an anti-immigration reform and anti-Obamacare platform. Bottom line: he staunchly stands on the wrong side of history, which plays well in BatShitCrazyville.
But I think Trammell has a fair shot at winning and joining Virginia’s two Democratic senators in DC.
So, Virginia is losing a high-profile position in Congress, but Eric Cantor was a disgrace in it and it’s good riddance. We’re better off starting over.