As we write Eric Cantor’s political obituary, the cause of death should be arrogance, not immigration.
When I heard Cantor was out, I immediately thought of Scott Brown defeating Martha Coakley for Senate in Massachusetts. Coakley ran a lazy campaign, taking victory for granted in the deep blue state. She famously asked if she should have stood in the cold, shaking hands at Fenway Park. Um, yes, Martha, that is exactly what you should have done. Like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, voters don’t respond well to being ignored. Come election day, they will boil your bunny, metaphorically speaking.
Cantor spent too much time being majority leader and too little being congressman from the seventh district of Virginia. Now he will be neither.
Yes, David Brat got a boost from right-wing radio hosts like Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin, but they also regularly tout candidates who flop.
Yes, Brat got a boost for running on an anti-immigration platform at a time when right-wing media are focused on the flood of unaccompanied young people coming across the border and overwhelming authorities. But down in South Carolina, Sen. Lindsey “Butters” Graham, who supports immigration reform, won without even having to face a runoff because he took his primary seriously and protected himself in every way he could think of. By contrast, Cantor brushed Brat off like an annoying mosquito.
Butters will be back next year because he ran full of fear, Cantor won’t be back because he ran full of himself.