I met Dave Brat several years ago and was immediately impressed when he gave a talk on political ethics and how it relates to economics. It was refreshing to hear someone that understood how an economy really worked and how, sometimes, the help we are inclined to give, being the magnanimous people we Americans are, may be doing more harm than good.
And when Dave first came forward to challenge Eric Cantor, I didn’t hesitate a bit. I endorsed him and told him he had my full support. He was the right person at the right time.
And it has been a long and arduous climb. Dave Brat was outspent 27 to 1. The local newspaper, The Times Dispatch, was completely in the tank for Eric Cantor and most of the local media gave Dave no more than a passing mention now and again. None of them had an inkling that Eric Cantor was about to go down in flames in a landslide loss to the man the did their best to ignore.
But as I gathered at the Grassroots Thank You Party – Dave didn’t even call it a Victory Party – with a few hundred of the grassroots activists and workers that had done so much to push Dave Brat across the finish line, I realized that this was more than simply the election of Dave Brat and the defeat of Eric Cantor. It is a turning point in American history. The repercussions and fallout from tonight will continue to be a factor in national politics for years to come. We changed the course of history in a single election. Not because Eric Cantor lost, although that was one (sweet) aspect of it. But because Conservationism won. Not the “lip service” Conservatism Eric Cantor liked to talk about. But true fiscal Conservationism.
And for those in the media and the left wing of the Republican Party gnashing their teeth that a TEA Party guy won, you really need to get a grip. Dave Brat is not a TEA Party guy, he is a Republican. For those who were too blinded by Eric Cantor and his “Liberal Professor” Ray Allen B.S. (more on Ray Allen in another post – I promise!), Dave Brat is a down to earth guy who really believes in the Republican Creed. That was not some campaign rhetoric to placate people. I knew Dave back before he ran for anything. Or even had a notion to do so.
I would ask the media and the (former) Cantor supporters to give the guy a chance. If you do, you will find a Godly man of substance and someone who is determined to represent us and wants to make all of our livesw better.
But what are the implications of this election?
In the 7th District, Conservatives have already replaced the district chairman Linwood Cobb with a Conservative, Fred Gruber. That partially dismantled Eric Cantor’s” machine”. And it was a harbinger of things to come. People in the 7th District have reached a boiling point and the “establishment” Republicans are completely blind to that fact. Well, probably not so blind anymore.
I said early and often that the grassroots folks that supported Eric Cantor expected results. We expected representation. And Eric Cantor failed to deliver. We were not asking for more “stuff”. In fact, quite the opposite. We wanted Eric to understand that the Constitution is not just a suggestion. It is the foundation of this nation. I am sure Cantor understands this, but it became a lower priority on his list than it was on the list of his employers in the 7th District.
One thing that was really nice for me was that in supporting Dave Brat I already knew most of the activists who were supporting him. Where did we meet? Supporting Eric Cantor, of course.
There were few Brat supporters that had not supported Eric Cantor over the years. Politicians like Eric Cantor believe they reach a plateau where they are untouchable. Unaccountable. Unconcerned with the people that they are supposed to represent.
So what is to be the impact of Eric Cantor’s defeat on the local politicians that helped Cantor in his attempts to slate (disenfranchise) voters? Delegate John O’Bannon who nominated Cantor’s guy at the Henrico Convention? We can call that a bad decision now that Cantor has been defeated. And in the 2nd district – Virginia Beach – the fallout is on the way.
There are so many politicians in the 7th District that were owned and operated by the Eric Cantor machine that is no longer.
The entire dynamics of Virginia politics changed tonight. Most people don’t realize that.
But they will wake up in the morning here in the 7th district and realize that the money that came from Eric Cantor will stop. And while that is a curse on it’s face, it is a blessing that you are no longer beholden to the Cantor Machine.
Of course there are still many machines still in operation, but the tentacles of Eric Cantor have been severed.
There is going to be a lot of fallout on the national scene. The election arrow that pierced Eric Cantor’s political heart also struck at the soul of John Boehner. Boehner is already in the death throes of his waning political career and is contemplating retirement as well as facing a revolt from the right to pry the gavel from his orange, tear stained hand. And the defeat of Boehner’s Majority Leader in a primary will likely be the impetus behind a challenge – whispers of which are already echoing in the gallery at the House of Representatives.
And what of Young Guns?
Eric Cantor created the Young Guns PAC to consolidate his power and that of his boss, John Boehner. The breath of the conservatives (the oft mislabeled TEA Party) has been hot on the neck of Cantor. Young guns was created to defeat Conservatives that might challenge Cantor as majority leader. After all, it wouldn’t do to have a Conservative uprising on the House Floor. Better to support those that would support Cantor.
Hopefully, Young Guns will fade into the sunset as Cantor is no longer in need of the anti-Conservative group.
So with the defeat of Eric Cantor, much of the thrust against the true Conservatives will come to an end.
And I will predict that John Boehner will soon be replaced by a more Conservative speaker.
Dave Brat is the first domino. An era has ended and significant changes are in the near future.