News from the Votemaster
To the astonishment of everyone in Washington, House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, was defeated by an unknown economics professor at Randolph-Macon college, David Brat, in the Republican primary in Virginia's 7th congressional district. Cantor was in line to become speaker of the House when the current speaker, John Boehner, finally decides he can't stand the job any more. With Cantor soon gone, there will be a free for all for the #2 slot in the Republican caucus. The #3 House Republican, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is not popular with the tea party. The #4 House Republican is Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA), who is even less popular with right-wing House members, so it will be quite a battle when the new House convenes.
The punditry has gone berserk over this and is proclaiming that no Republican will now support any form of immigration reform because Cantor was in favor of a mild bit of it and Brat's whole campaign was about "NO AMNESTY EVER." Of course the Republican establishment realizes that if immigration reform is off the table as long as the Republicans hold power, a lot of Latino voters are going to conclude the only way to solve the problem is to make sure Republicans don't have any power any more.
The big disconnect here is that most House Republicans are in extremely gerrymandered districts due to the Republican sweep of the state legislatures in 2010, a midterm election. So they are not afraid to offend Latino voters because there aren't many of them in their districts. But the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. A strategy that works well in individual House districts around the country does not work in presidential elections or increasingly many Senate elections. Also, looking down the road, 2020 is a presidential election year, so the Democrats may sweep the state legislatures then and do the gerrymandering for the following decade.
To put Cantor's loss in perspective, in 2012, Cantor got 220,000 votes in the general election and the Democrat got 160,000 votes. Yesterday Cantor lost by about 7000 votes, 36,110 to 28,898. If 7000 people in a district with 380,000 voters had switched their vote, this "crisis" would not have occurred and the punditry would not be freaking out today. Although Cantor outspent his opponent by more than 25 to 1, he rarely appeared in the Richmond area district and hardly campaigned at all there. It could well be arrogance rather than ideology that did him in.
One consequence of Cantor's defeat could come in fundraising. Cantor was the only Jewish Republican in Congress and a very powerful one at that. When the party wanted to make a fundraising pitch to rich Jews in New York or Los Angeles, guess who went? There is no plan B. In contrast, there are 11 Democratic senators who are Jewish and 21 Democrats in the House who are Jewish. Jewish Republicans are already saying oy veh.
A news story making the rounds of late is "The establishment strikes back," based on establishment victories in the Kentucky Senate primary and a few other places. That story became shaky last week when tea party candidate Chris McDaniel edged out six-term Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) in a primary last week, forcing a runoff on June 24. With Cantor's defeat, albeit by 7000 votes in an open primary where only 17% of the usual voters showed up, the new normal is a paraphrase of Mark Twain's remark that "rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated." The tea party is back in action and there are plenty of primaries left this year. As mainstream Republicans panic and move further to the right to protect themselves, they are only going to make it harder to win general elections in districts and states that are closely balanced between the parties.
For President Obama, Cantor's demise is largely a plus. Obama regarded Cantor as a pain in the tush, an unprincipled politician who would take whatever side of an issue that would benefit himself the most. Now he is rid of Cantor. Also, to the extent that immigration reform is dead as a legislative issue, it remains very much alive as a campaign issue, which benefits the Democrats. In fact, for them, the best of all possible worlds is for Democrats to keep pushing for immigration reform in Congress and having the Republicans keep killing it, and getting the blame within the Latino community.Email a link to a friend or share:
Jun04 Joni Ernst to Face Bruce Braley in Iowa
Jun04 Independent Gums Up the Works in Mississippi
May28 Democrats Escape Disaster in Texas
May28 Republicans Court Disaster in Texas
May21 Perdue and Kingston Advance to Runoff in Georgia Senate Race
May21 McConnell Whips Bevin in Kentucky
May21 Wehby Beats Conger in Oregon
May21 Chelsea Clinton's Mother-in-law Loses in Pennsylvania
May18 How Republican is the South?
May07 Tillis Wins North Carolina Primary
May07 Boehner Renominated Easily
May07 Long View of the Senate
May07 Future Voters May Use iPads
Apr23 Summary of the Prognosticators on the 2014 Senate Races
Apr23 North Carolina Primary is Next
Apr23 Other Southern Races Tight
Apr07 Scott Brown Makes Freudian Slip
Apr07 Republican Poll Shows Landrieu Ahead in Louisiana
Mar24 Methodology Matters
Mar24 Rand Paul May Have to Make a Choice in 2016
Mar11 Version 1.0 of the 2016 Republican Presidential Primaries
Mar11 Tier 1 Candidates
Mar11 Tier 2 Candidates
Mar11 Tier 3 Candidates
Mar11 Hotly Contested Special Election in Florida Today to Fill GOP House Seat
Mar05 Cornyn Renominated in Texas
Mar03 Ohio Eliminates Early Voting on Sundays
Mar03 Travis Childers to Run for the Senate in Mississippi
Feb26 Primary Season Begins Next Week
Feb08 Lt. Gov. John Walsh Appointed to Replace Baucus in the Senate
Feb03 Christie and 2016
Feb03 Update on the Key 2014 Senate Races
Dec19 Obama Names Max Baucus as Ambassador to China
Dec19 Democrats Sweep Virginia Statewide Offices
Nov23 The Senate Did Not Really Abolish the Filibuster
Nov06 Virginia is for Democrats
Nov06 Christie Wins Big in New Jersey
Nov06 The Establishment Strikes Back
Nov06 De Blasio Crushes Lhota in New York City
Nov06 Many Referendums on the Ballot
Nov05 All Eyes on Virginia and New Jersey
Nov05 Business Fights Back: Key Republican Primary to Be Held in Alabama Today
Nov05 Liberals Poised for Big Wins in New York City
Nov05 Key Ballot Measures Will Also Get Attention
Nov05 Bass Will Not Challenge Shaheen in New Hampshire
Oct17 Cory Booker Elected Senator from New Jersey
Oct17 Government Crisis Postponed for 3 Months
Oct01 The Blame Game Begins
Oct01 Primaries May Hurt Republicans' Senate Hopes