House Majority Leader Eric Cantor loses his primary

U.S. President Obama delivers his first State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in WashingtonThis is not supposed to happen — the media villagers’ “conventional wisdom” is that the GOP establishment has defeated the Tea Party in GOP primaries this year. Well, the Tea Party just claimed its biggest victory to date — a teabagger has defeated the No. 2 in House GOP leadership, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Cantor falls to tea party challenger:

In a stunning upset propelled by tea party activists, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was defeated in Tuesday’s congressional primary, with insurgent David Brat delivering an unpredicted and devastating loss to the second most powerful Republican in the House who has widely been touted as a future speaker.

The race called shortly after 8 p.m. Eastern by the Associated Press, and Cantor conceded a short time later.

Brat’s victory gives the GOP a volatile outlook for the rest of the campaign season, with the party establishment struggling late Tuesday to grapple with the news and some conservatives relishing a surprising win.

“This is an earthquake,” said former Minnesota congressman Vin Weber, a friend of Cantor’s. “No one thought he’d lose.” But Brat, tapping into conservative anger over Cantor’s role in supporting efforts to reform federal immigration laws, found a way to combat Cantor’s significant financial edge.

“Eric Cantor’s loss tonight is an apocalyptic moment for the GOP establishment,” said L. Brent Bozell, chairman of ForAmerica, a conservative group that targeted Cantor throughout the primary. “The grassroots is in revolt and marching.”

Others had a different take. Longtime Virginia Republican strategist Chris LaCivita said Cantor’s work to build the Republican majority had taken him away from his home district. “He spent days, weeks and months traveling the country, raising money to add to the Reoublican majority. What can be attributed to Eric in doing so is unquestionable. Unfortunately, it had a price.”

Brat, an economics professor, was not considered a major threat until Tuesday night, simply failing to show up to D.C. meetings with powerful conservative agitators last month, citing upcoming finals. He only had $40,000 in the bank at the end of March, according to first quarter filings. Cantor had $2 million.

Despite those shortcomings, Brat has exposed discontent with Cantor in the solidly Republican, suburban Richmond 7th Congressional District by attacking the lawmaker on his votes to raise the debt ceiling and end the government shutdown, as well as his support for some immigration reforms. At a May meeting of Republican activists in the district, Cantor was booed, and an ally he campaigned for was ousted as the local party chairman in favor of a tea party favorite.

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Cantor has taken the primary threat seriously, attacking Brat in television ads and boasting in mailers that he blocked “amnesty” for illegal immigrants on Capitol Hill.

Cantor addressed the crowd for about four minutes, thanking supporters and saying he would continue to “fight for the conservative cause.”

He quickly exited the ballroom for a waiting SUV, ignoring questions from reporters.

There are two takeaways from this. First, the Tea Party will redouble its efforts to defeat Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi) in his run-off election in a couple of weeks.

More importantly, Cantor’s defeat ends any possibility of taking up an immigration reform bill in the House this summer as had been widely anticipated. The GOP establishment lives in fear of its nativist and racist base voters, and they do not want immigration reform.

That is despite the fact that Americans still favor immigration reform, study finds:

Americans still overwhelmingly agree that illegal immigrants living in the United States should be allowed to remain in the country and seek some form of legal status, according to a survey released Tuesday.

The survey, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution, found that 62 percent of Americans favor allowing illegal immigrants a way to become citizens, compared with 63 percent a year ago. An additional 17 percent said in the new poll that illegal immigrants should be able to become legal residents but not full citizens. Nineteen percent said they should be deported.

The poll shows Americans having a slightly more positive view about the role of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States. They are equally likely — about 45 to 46 percent — to say that illegal immigration helps the economy by providing low-cost labor as to say that it hurts the economy by driving down wages. In March 2013, 56 percent said the economic impact of illegal immigrants was negative.

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Americans place immigration reform far below jobs, the economy and health care as a priority. The survey closely tracked changes in attitudes by making calls to the same households that were polled nationwide in the 2013 study.

The new survey found that 58 percent of Americans agree that the growing number of new immigrants strengthens American society, while 37 percent say the trend harms society by threatening traditional values. In 2013, 54 percent said newcomers strengthen American society.

The poll found that support for blanket deportation remains strong [only] among Republicans. It also found strong correlations between TV news viewing habits and degrees of positive or negative opinion about immigrants and immigration.

The survey found that “the most powerful independent predictor” of people’s opposition to citizenship for illegal immigrants is whether they say they rely on Fox News as their most trusted source of information on politics and current events.

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The survey reported that Republicans were almost three times more likely than Democrats to favor identifying and deporting illegal immigrants.

Looking toward the upcoming midterm congressional elections, the survey found that Republicans were likely to benefit from what the report’s authors called an electoral “enthusiasm gap” among both Hispanics and young adults.

Now that the Tea Party has killed any chance of immigration reform that majorities of Americans wanted done this summer, it’s time for Democratic constituencies who tend not to vote in midterm elections, Just 1 of your 6 friends cares a lot about the November elections, to wake the fuck up!

The only way you can prevent the far-right radical teabaggers from giving you the kind of country that the vast majority of Americans do not want, you have to get off your ass, mobilize, organize and actually vote!

UPDATE: Send in the clowns: Eric Cantor announces he will not attempt a November write-in campaign, and he will step down as Majority Leader at the end of July.

2 responses to “House Majority Leader Eric Cantor loses his primary

  1. Well, I have two predictions:

    1) In the next session, there will be a daily vote in the House to repeal Obamacare.

    2) On January 22nd, there will be five to seven competing articles of impeachment filed.

    Buckle up, it’s going to be a crazy ride.

  2. Frances Perkins

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Of course this will only make the House majority not favor immigration reform, they will probably oppose deportation in favor of capital punishment.