Interesting insights on why Eric Cantor lost

The reverberations from the loss of House majority leader Eric Cantor to political neophyte David Brat continue, with the usual menu of reasons being trotted out by the punditocracy. But Justin Raimondo says that if you look at the actual details of that race, they go against the convenient storyline that has been settled on in the media.

They settled on a neat little narrative early on: the election was all about immigration, they told us, and Brat is a “Tea Party” politician with “nativist” tendencies. That explanation, however, soon fell apart when it was revealed that the Tea Party groups had done exactly nothing to help Brat: indeed the leader of Tea Party Patriots, one of the biggest national groups, wouldn’t even take his phone calls.

Furthermore, it turned out Brat had campaigned not only or even primarily on the immigration issue – which only came up in the last few days of the campaign – but on what he called “crony capitalism,” hitting Cantor over and over again on his subservience to corporate interests. And it wasn’t the typical left-wing egalitarian demagogy that condemns any successful business for not putting “people before profits,” as the old Communist Party USA slogan puts it. Brat was steamed that businessmen were going to Washington asking for special favors – subsidies – in order to boost (or maintain) their profit margins, and Cantor was a major cog in their political machine.

A trip to Brat’s modest campaign web site tells a good part of the story. Here he is on the National Security Agency’s spying on Americans:

“Dave believes that the Constitution does not need to be compromised for matters of national security. He supports the end of bulk phone and email data collection by the NSA, IRS, or any other branch of government.”

Not only that, but he went after Cantor for being one of the Surveillance State’s biggest defenders:

“Eric Cantor voted for the National Defense and Authorization Act (H.R. 1960, 6/14/13) which authorizes the unconstitutional bulk data collection by the government under the PRISM program. Congressman Cantor voted against an amendment offered by Justin Amash that would have prevented the NSA from collecting phone records of individuals unless suspected of terrorism (H.R. 2397 Amendment 70).”

These aspects of Brat’s views didn’t make it into the media narrative, and that’s hardly surprising: the “mainstream” media and their favorite “mainstream” politicians are in cahoots. Anything that doesn’t fit into their red-blue conservative-liberal dichotomy gets left on the cutting room floor.

Raimondo says that Brat’s ascendancy is symptomatic of the general disgust against the two party crony oligarchic system that we now have. I have to admit that this aspect of Brat’s views was new to me and it sheds an interesting light on that election, though again we must be cautious about drawing too sweeping conclusions from a low turn out primary election.

The inimitable Tbogg, on the other hand, thinks that it is more simple and that one simple over-riding factor led to his demise.


  1. Al Dente says

    There was a great line in Tbogg’s article:

    Ted Cruz, with his face built for punching,

  2. Randomfactor says

    Read an article last night that an estimate of the number of Democrats who “crossed over” to vote for Brat is pretty close to his margin of victory.

    But again, what tbogg said. What did Cantor in is his religion, sadly.

    He was unable to tie a pork chop around his neck so the voters would play with him.

  3. sailor1031 says

    Well I don’t live in Cantor’s district but it’s close. I doubt that his religion had anything to do with his defeat. Low turnout in western Henrico (affluent, suburban) and high turnout in rural areas like New Kent coupled with the fact that he IS almost universally considered to be a smarmy, lying dick is what did him in. Raimundo kind of got it right here.

  4. M can help you with that. says

    Furthermore, it turned out Brat had campaigned … on what he called “crony capitalism,”

    You mean there’s another kind?

  5. Reginald Selkirk says

    I have seen articles to the effect that “local issues” were more important than the big national issues being pundited about. Cantor is so enamored with himself at being a big player on the national scene that he has been poor at “constituent service,” actually helping people in his district.

  6. astrosmash says

    Now if we dems could do the same with Hillz… Having a low financed unknow come out of nowhere and clean up as it were. I’ll of course vothe for whoever the dem con puts up for our vote. But in the general presidential election I’ll be doing like the partiers in va… casting my vote against the republicans more than for the dems

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