Cantor’s loss has message for GOP

Somehow, no one saw Rep. Eric Cantor’s primary loss coming on Tuesday. But it was all the political pundits could talk about on Wednesday.

Cantor is the House Majority Leader, the Number 2 leadership position behind Speaker John Boehner. He was considered an heir apparent for the Speaker’s office when Boehner.

But he lost in the Republican Primary on Tuesday to David Brat, a college economics professor making his first run for political office. Brat is a tea party favorite, who had little campaign money to spend but who was talked up by conservative talk radio hosts. Brat criticized Cantor for his openness to immigration reform during the campaign.

Cantor had the misfortune of being in the mainstream Republican leadership, which means he supported the deal that ended the shutdown of the government last fall. On immigration, he had read the results of 2012 Congressional elections in which Republicans lost ground. Party analysts recognized the GOP was not going to attract the Latino vote without an immigration reform bill.

All this was counter to the conservative base in the party. They want their candidates to toe the conservative line, and they will be out in force during the primaries.

Cantor was also criticized for being out of touch with the people in his district. That’s one of the dangers of assuming a leadership role in Congress. It keeps you busy in Washington.

This doesn’t bode well for Congress getting anything of a bipartisan nature done before the election in November.

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