Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Primary shocker June 10 , 2014 --- Eric Cantor ( House Majority Leader ) gets handily whipped in Virginia !

Cantor’s Loss a Triumph for Anti-Corporate Right-Wing Populism

Posted on June 12, 2014 by 
By David Dayen, a lapsed blogger, now a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, CA. Follow him on Twitter @ddayen
The battle over why Eric Cantor became the first House Majority Leader to ever relinquish his seat in a primary campaign has been about a hundred times more intensive than the campaign itself. It was a sleepy local race with 12.8% turnout. Virginia has no partisan registration, so any of the district’s 504,895 registered voters could have participated; only 65,022 did.
Cantor’s loss probably had many fathers. It may be as simple as this: polls always show that voters hate Congress but love their Congressmember, and Cantor, who had a whole mess of new, more conservative voters in his district after the 2010 gerrymander, symbolized the former rather than the latter. To the engaged sliver of voters participating, Cantor was the city slicker (even the Jewish city slicker, some suggest) who strove for institutional power and lost touch with the people he represented. The fact that Cantor won the areas closest to D.C. and lost the ones furthest away fits that theory.
But there’s no question that conservative economics professor David Brat succeeded in channeling a strain of right-wing populism to target Cantor, and plausibly so, as a corporate stooge and progenitor of crony capitalism. Lee Fang at Republic Report did the most thorough work on this:
“All of the investment banks, up in New York and D.C., they should have gone to jail.”
That isn’t a quote from an Occupy Wall Street protester or Senator Elizabeth Warren. That’s a common campaign slogan repeated by Dave Brat, the Virginia college professor who scored one of the biggest political upsets in over a century by defeating Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Republican primary last night [...]
Brat told Internet radio host Flint Engelman that the “number one plank” in his campaign is “free markets.” Brat went on to explain, “Eric Cantor and the Republican leadership do not know what a free market is at all, and the clearest evidence of that is the financial crisis … When I say free markets, I mean no favoritism to K Street lobbyists.” Banks like Goldman Sachs were not fined for their role in the financial crisis — rather, they were rewarded with bailouts, Brat has said.
Brat, who has identified with maverick GOP lawmakers like Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, spent much of the campaign slamming both parties for being in the pocket of “Wall Street crooks” and D.C. insiders. The folks who caused the financial crisis, Brat says, “went onto Obama’s rolodex, the Republican leadership, Eric’s rolodex.”
In particular, Brat took aim at Cantor’s work on the STOCK Act, which was prompted by a conservative economist who found major stock gains from members of Congress and staffers in industries where they had inside knowledge. Cantor openly watered down the STOCK Act before passage. If you’re trying to paint your opponent as a corporatist who looks out for himself and his buddies over his constituents, this would top the list.
The oft-repeated claim that Brat won by framing Cantor as somehow pro-immigration (which comes from a coupleoff-hand remarks and not any real actions) actually goes together with this. Brat made an economic argument on immigration about how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants to import cheap labor to take away “your” jobs. This has a nativist element to it, and it was certainly used as a rallying cry by right-wing radio talk show hosts. But even when Brat says that immigration won the race for him, he says it in terms of Cantor “supporting the U.S. Chamber agenda.” The key ad on this showed Cantor in a picture with Facebook’s Marc Zuckerberg. It’s all coherent with the idea of Cantor as handing corporate America whatever they want.
And this picture of Cantor has a pretty solid basis, just as you could frame it for anyone in the Congressional leadership of either party. Over a million dollars in contributions came to Cantor this cycle from the FIRE sector (finance, insurance and real estate), and two of the top five contributors were Blackstone and Goldman Sachs. Lloyd Blankfein openly lamented Cantor’s loss. Lobbyists all over K Street are literally expecting to lose money in Cantor’s absence, because the source of their influence has been ousted. In fact, the only individual who’ll make money out of this is Cantor himself, once K Street comes running to throw millions at him to work at their lobby shop.
I hope we can agree that Brat’s campaign strategy of playing on the resentments of a handful of voters who aren’t getting by in this economy means nothing for the policies he’ll actually pursue. Given Brat’s ideological leanings, he will probably react to regulatory capture and Wall Street corruption by arguing that financial institutions need to be freed from burdensome government oversight and have the market discipline any untoward behavior.
But the success of the campaign strategy is notable, as John Judis and others have pointed out. Rightwing populism, which has been around for close to 200 years, operates like a funhouse-mirror inversion of what is today considered a progressive argument against corporate dominance of government. This historical argument has a lot of merit:
Richard Hofstadter famously wrote that both populism and early progressivism were heavily fueled by nativism and there is a lot of merit in what he says. Take, for instance, prohibition (one of William Jennigs Bryant’s Bryan’s major campaign issues). Most people assume that when it was enacted in 1920, it was the result of do-gooderism, stemming from the tireless work by progressives who saw drink as a scourge for the family, and women in particular. But the truth is that Prohibition was mostly supported by rural southerners and midwesterners who were persuaded that alcohol was the province of immigrants in the big cities who were polluting the culture with their foreign ways. And progressives did nothing to dispell that myth — indeed they perpetuated it. This was an issue, in its day, that was as important as gay marriage is today. The country divided itself into “wets” and “drys” and many a political alliance was made or broken by taking one side of the issue or another. Bryan, the populist Democrat, deftly exploited this issue to gain his rural coalition — and later became the poster boy for creationism, as well. (Not that he wasn’t a true believer, he was; but his views on evolution were influenced by his horror at the eugenics movement. He was a complicated guy.) And prohibition turned out to be one of the most costly and silly diversions in American history [...]
Bashing immigrants and elites at the same time has a long pedigree and it is the most efficient way to bag some of those pick-up truck guys who are voting against their economic self-interest. There seems to be little evidence that bashing elites alone actually works. And that’s because what you are really doing is playing to their prejudices and validating their tribal instinct that the reason for their economic problems is really the same reason for the cultural problems they already believe they have — Aliens taking over Real America — whether liberals, immigrants, blacks, commies, Wall Street, whomever.
It’s positive that Wall Street couldn’t buy the Majority Leader’s seat for him (Brat was outspent as much as 25 to 1). And it’s positive, if predictable, that a message of being on the side of ordinary people over corporate muckety-mucks still can resonate. And a rump of right-wing populists in Congress offers the potential for trans-partisan support on discrete issues, like the NSA (which Brat has denounced). Perhaps a few Democrats could take note of the effectiveness of calling out corporate corruption among the leadership class.
But populism has many sides, and history has many examples of it being exploited to ends that its supporters may not endorse. So there’s ground to tread here, but one should tread wisely.

Cantor's defeat appears to mark unprecedented loss

June 10, 2014: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., delivers his concession speech as his wife, Diana, listens in Richmond, Va.AP
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost the GOP Virginia primary to a Tea Party-backed challenger Tuesday night in a stunning, apparently unprecedented upset.
According to an analysis by Fox News, it appears Cantor is the first sitting House majority leader to ever lose a primary. However, other congressional leaders have been unseated by election challengers.
Examples include:
House Speaker Galusha Grow: The Lincoln-era congressman lost his re-election bid in 1862.
House Speaker Tom Foley: The Washington state Democrat lost in the general election to Republican George Nethercutt in the Republican takeover of 1994.
- Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas: The Illinois Democrat lost in the general election to Republican Everett Dirksen in 1950, who later went on to become the Senate Minority Leader.
-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle: The South Dakota Democrat was defeated by Republican Sen. John Thune, who is still in office.
Other lawmakers have been defeated in the primary, but have gone on to win in the general election as write-in or third-party candidates, including:
-Sen. Lisa Murkowski: The Alaska Republican lost in the primary to Joe Miller, but ran as a write-in candidate and emerged victorious in the general election in 2010.
- Sen. Joe Lieberman: The Democrat from Connecticut lost in the primary to Ned Lamont in 2006, but ran as an independent in the general election and won.

Jun 10, 8:26 PM EDT



RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated Tuesday by a little-known economics professor in Virginia's Republican primary, a stunning upset and major victory for the tea party.
Cantor is the second-most powerful member of the U.S. House and was seen by some as a possible successor to the House speaker.
His loss to Dave Brat, a political novice with little money marks a huge victory for the tea party movement, which supported Cantor just a few years ago.
Brat had been a thorn in Cantor's side on the campaign, casting the congressman as a Washington insider who isn't conservative enough. Last month, a feisty crowd of Brat supporters booed Cantor in front of his family at a local party convention.
His message apparently scored well with voters in the 7th District.
"There needs to be a change," said Joe Mullins, who voted in Chesterfield County Tuesday. The engineering company employee said he has friends who tried to arrange town hall meetings with Cantor, who declined their invitations.
Tiffs between the GOP's establishment and tea party factions have flared in Virginia since tea party favorite Ken Cuccinelli lost last year's gubernatorial race. Cantor supporters have met with stiff resistance in trying to wrest control of the state party away from tea party enthusiasts, including in the Cantor's home district.
Brat teaches at Randolph-Macon College, a small liberal arts school north of Richmond. He raised just more than $200,000 for his campaign, according to the most recent campaign finance reports.
Beltway-based groups also spent heavily in the race. The American Chemistry Council, whose members include many blue chip companies, spent more than $300,000 on TV ads promoting Cantor. It's the group's only independent expenditure so far this election year. Political arms of the American College of Radiology, the National Rifle Association and the National Association of Realtors also spent money on ads to promote Cantor.
Brat offset the cash disadvantage with endorsements from conservative activists like radio host Laura Ingraham, and with help from local tea party activists angry at Cantor.
Much of the campaign centered on immigration, where critics on both sides have recently taken aim at Cantor.
Brat has accused the House majority leader of being a top cheerleader for "amnesty" for immigrants in the U.S. illegally. Cantor has responded forcefully by boasting in mailers of blocking Senate plans "to give illegal aliens amnesty."
It was a change in tone for Cantor, who has repeatedly voiced support for giving citizenship to certain immigrants brought illegally to the country as children. Cantor and House GOP leaders have advocated a step-by-step approach rather than the comprehensive bill backed by the Senate. They've made no move to bring legislation to a vote and appear increasingly unlikely to act this year.
Cantor, a former state legislator, was elected to Congress in 2000. He became majority leader in 2011.

From Twitchy......

Cantor looks cooked to me. Truly stunned. Low turnout+Immigration issue+ story of current border crisis=perfect storm for Brat


Befuddlement hit and lingered within the House GOP leadership ranks as Majority Leader Eric Cantor's election fate was unwinding on Tuesday. Cantor lost in a major upset to primary challenger Dave Brat.
There was no immediate comment from House Speaker John Boehner.
But a senior Republican leadership aide described the mood as "chaos for the leadership ranks.
"We're absolutely stunned. Honestly, we really can't believe it," said the aide, who likened it to the 2004 election defeat of Tom Daschle of South Dakota, who was Senate minority leader at the time.
"Given the speculation Boehner himself may decide not to run again for speaker, the idea had been out there that Cantor would simply walk into the speakership," said the aide.
"But now, who the hell would be the next speaker?"—particularly, the aide added, if Paul Ryan doesn't want it, or Rep. Tom Price of Georgia isn't interested.
And there are more immediate questions—including whether Cantor would step down as majority leader right away, given the no-confidence vote of his own constituents.
"Everyone knows it was a tough race out there. But when you have all the money in the world, spend those resources—in the long run, money usually wins out," said the aide.


In one of the biggest political upsets in recent memory, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary election on Tuesday to a political unknown who focused his campaign on Cantor's support for a path to citizenship for the children of immigrants.
Randolph-Macon College economics professor Dave Brat won the Republican primary in Virginia's 7th Congressional District. Brat had 56 percent of the vote to Cantor's 44 percent when the Associated Press called the race just after 8 p.m. 
Cantor's defeat will send shockwaves throughout Washington. The House majority leader was one of the best-known Republican figures in the country, reputed for his strategic acumen and political ambition. He wielded an immense amount of clout within the Capitol and was widely expected to one day seek to become the speaker of the House.
His primary was never expected to be seriously competitive, and his loss is catching everyone—from veterans of Virginia politics to longtime analysts in Washington—by surprise.
"Obviously, we came up short," Cantor said in a speech Tuesday night.
Cantor's loss was shocking, but there were several signs of rising voter discontent among conservatives in his district. Brat attacked him for supporting "amnesty" as part of his support for comprehensive immigration reform, which forced Cantor to reiterate that he opposed legislation that provided for "blanket amnesty."
The issue of immigration policy drew heightened attention on Fox News and conservative talk radio in the past week after news reports documented a surge of undocumented children arriving at the United States border, overrunning processing centers and the Border Patrol.
In an interview just last Friday, Cantor suggested he could work with President Obama to allow a path to citizenship for some children of illegal immigrants already in the country. In the campaign's final days, Brat criticized Cantor for siding with Obama on the contentious issue.
A secondary factor in Cantor's demise was his disconnect from many Republican constituents in the district. The state's redistricting in 2010 made his suburban Richmond district more conservative, adding new areas that he didn't previously represent. As majority leader, Cantor spent less time wooing voters at town halls in Chesterfield County and more time deal-making with Republican leadership in Washington.
He didn't take the challenge from Brat seriously enough until it was too late. Between April 1 and May 21, he spent nearly $1 million trying to fend off Brat, but his campaign was still dismissive of the challenge even as recently as Monday when reporters questioned why it was spending so much money.
"We lived the exact same thing two years ago," said Ray Allen, Cantor's campaign manager, in an interview with the National Journal before Tuesday's primary. "From 2000 to 2012, we've run TV ads, done direct mail, yard signs."
Cantor won his primary with 79 percent of the vote last year, though he only won less than 60 percent of the vote in the last two general elections—in a Republican-friendly district.
Cantor's loss is also a major defeat for the faint hopes of passing immigration reform in the House. Brat's focus on Cantor's immigration record forced him to be defensive. Cantor sent mail ads touting his opposition to "amnesty for illegal immigrants" even while advocating for an exception for those brought to the country as children—a caveat Brat criticized.
Cantor also ran negative TV ads calling Brat a "liberal college professor" and criticizing him for serving on an advisory board for Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine when Kaine was governor.
There isn't much historical precedent for a majority leader losing a primary. In 1994, Tom Foley became the first House speaker in more than a century to be defeated for reelection when he lost a general election during that year's Republican wave. His predecessor was Speaker Galusha Grow, a Republican who lost his seat during the Civil War. In the upper chamber, one-time Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle is the only party leader in recent history to lose an election, in 2004.
Both Brat and Democratic candidate Jack Trammell are professors at the same small school, Randolph-Macon College in Ashland. The school has fewer than 100 full-time faculty and a student population of just over 1,200.
Virginia law prohibits Cantor from running as an independent, but he can run as a write-in candidate, a strategy that worked for Sen. Lisa Murkowski in 2010 after she lost the Alaska Republican primary.
And it's not like Cantor's sounding like he's now ready to just disappear.
"I believe there's opportunity around the next corner for all of us," he said Tuesday night. "So I look forward to continuing to fight with all of you for the things that we believe in for the conservative cause, because those solutions of ours are the answer to the problems that so many people are facing today."

Headlines like these certainly didn't help......