In his Republican primary race on Tuesday evening, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) was a bigger favorite than California Chrome. (Last week, Cantor’s campaign claimed a more than 2-to-1 polling lead.) But in both cases we’re reminded “that’s why they run the race.”
The most common reaction after economics professor Dave Brat crushed Rep. Cantor by 56 percent to 44 percent – despite Brat’s campaign raising and spending less than 5 percent of Cantor’s total – was “Nobody saw it coming.” In an article which appears to have been re-written following the election, the Washington Post predicted that Brat would “fall far short.” (How nice to be able to delete failed predictions; I’m sure Cantor’s pollsters wish they could do the same.) Perhaps the skepticism of Brat’s chances shouldn’t be a surprise because although Brat was considered a more credible challenger than many of Cantor’s prior Republican foes, no sitting House Majority Leader had ever before lost a primary.
The left is already trumpeting this political earthquake as representing a Tea Party takeover of the GOP – a point they’ve been trying to make for some time despite the relative lack of success of pro-liberty groups in the 2012 primary season (including Senator Lindsey Graham’s trouncing of all of his Tea Party opponents at the same time that Cantor was losing as well as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s easy victory against a flawed but strongly Tea Party-backed challenger.)
But despite the “Tea Party” appellation in nearly every news article about the election, Brat is only a Tea Party candidate in the sense of running on principles and seeming to be sincere when referencing the American Constitution – both of which are anathema to the Fourth Estate and too often to Republican leadership who prefer constitutional lip service over honoring their oaths of office.
While Mr. Brat did get significant support from several high-profile conservative talk radio hosts such as Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin, and from some small local Tea Party groups in Virginia, no major national Tea Party group came to Brat’s aid, financially or in any other public way. If this represents the new Tea Party, both the establishment and Democrats should be even more afraid than they might have been following their 2010 “shellacking.”
Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:
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