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House majority leader defeated in Virginia primary
June 11, 2014 - Andrea Johnson
So all the pollsters were wrong yesterday.
A college economics professor named David Brat defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Virginia Republican Primary.
So far, the news coverage seems to be focusing on Brat's Libertarian beliefs and Tea Party ties. The general consensus seems to be that Cantor's leadership position and the stance he took on the need for immigration reform probably hurt him badly in the primary. The 70-year-old female Virginia voter I heard opining this afternoon on Rush Limbaugh's radio program seems to be of the opinion that Cantor stopped caring about the common folk once he went to Washington D.C. The woman, who voted for Brat, also has a strong dislike for Obamacare, another thing that probably factored into this race. I doubt that a junior congressman from Virginia would have much success in repealing the two year old Affordable Health Care Act, but the Virginia Republicans who voted for Brat would probably like him to try.
Apparently unlike Professor Brat, I'm no particular fan of the writer Ayn Rand and her Objectivist philosophy. The Boston Globe reports that Brat authored a paper on the moral foundations of Ayn Rand, but doesn't consider himself a Randian. I also don't have much use for the kind of polarized politics that have resulted in gridlock in Congress all too often over the past several years. If Brat is the sort of fellow that news reports say he is, he'd likely add one more voice to that gridlock if he were elected. Of course, the Republican vote could be split and the Democrat could win as a result.
What do you make of yesterday's upset? What do you think it might mean for the election in November?
Cantor's defeat seems to have flabbergasted national media. The latest explanation for the loss is that Virginia voters might have a touch of latent anti-Semitism. I have to say that I had never given much thought to Cantor's religion or knew that he was Jewish, though I've only heard about him on occasion in the national news. I assume the people in his majority Christian district knew he was Jewish. They've also reelected him numerous times. Brat apparently has a degree in theology and is a practicing Catholic who often mentions God in his speeches. Here is a New York Times article on the religion issue: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/12/us/politics/voters-saw-cantor-as-out-of-touch-but-not-because-of-his-jewish-faith-analysts-say.html
I would say the old woman on the Rush Limbaugh program probably had the best take on why people voted for Brat. They thought Cantor had lost touch with his constituents and they don't like his ideas on immigration reform. Religion didn't have anything to do with it.
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