Cantor's Loss Helps Dems, Obama
by Deacon Blues
Just when you thought the stars were aligned for a bad midterm election result for Democrats and a bad last two years for Barack Obama, the Tea Party was effectively handed control of the House and Senate GOP tonight when Eric Cantor lost his primary to a Tea Party challenger. Yes, Cantor outspent his rival by at least ten to one, and yes Cantor and his gang were loathed in that district. But the Tea Party knocked out the House GOP leadership tonight and ensured that the GOP will lose Latino voters for at least a generation. Why, and what are the outcomes now?
Cantor was blistered by his Tea Party opponent primarily for his willingness to do a deal on immigration. A gerrymandered GOP electorate snuffed out Cantor tonight on that willingness, thereby ensuring that no other GOP candidate in this cycle will touch immigration reform.
What does this do?
Cantor‘s loss will energize a lot of Tea Party money and activists that were headed to the sidelines with the establishment’s run of recent victories. That will not be lost on mainstream GOP incumbents.
Immigration reform is dead for the rest of this cycle, and now for the next Congress, because GOP House and Senate candidates in 2016 will not want to run with a “yes” vote on immigration reform on their record. Not only that, Cantor was open to legislation that cemented into place protections on the Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court just eviscerated. No GOP incumbent for 2016 will now touch that issue either. As such, Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer should do everything they can to force votes in the House on immigration reform and voting rights this year.
The House GOP caucus and leadership are now thrown into disarray. With no Eric Cantor in the wings, and with John Boehner and Kevin McCarthy running in fear of the Tea Party, Democrats should do everything they can to force the civil war and schisms even deeper.
As for Barack Obama, he was just handed his resurrection. With his opponents tied down into a civil war the next two years, Obama can do what he does best: campaign for the next two years against GOP extremism, intolerance, and abdication of governing responsibility.
Update: Cantor announced Wednesday morning that he will vacate the Majority Leader position within weeks to fast-track a new leadership team, in the hopes of avoiding a distracting intraparty battle during the remainder of the midterm election. Good luck with that.