Yesterday, House Majority Eric Cantor (R-Va.) received a solid thumping by Tea Party-supported Dave Brat in Virginia’s Republican Party primary.
That bounce in my step today? Not schadenfreude.
Americans have always loved the underdog, and certainly Brat qualified as one: Cantor was expected to crush his underfunded challenger. Slate’s Dave Weigel reported that the Cantor campaign “spent nearly $1 million in the final weeks, while Brat struggled to spend six figures.”
Brat, a Randolph Macon College economics professor, says he’s “a free-market guy,” and proudly admits, “I do want to scale down Washington, DC.” He also signed the U.S. Term Limits pledge and dubbed himself “Cantor’s term-limit.”
By a dozen percentage points, no less.
Brat hammered Cantor on the immigration issue — on which I side with neither Brat nor Cantor — but the defeat of this major congressional leader was about far more than that single issue. It was about leadership and trust . . . or the lack thereof.
Our so-called leaders aren’t leading.
And the Republican grassroots refuse to blindly follow.
Well-known conservative activist Brent Bozell, head of ForAmerica, a group that attacked Cantor, called the upset “an apocalyptic moment for the GOP establishment,” adding, “The grassroots is in revolt and marching.”
Several TV talking heads spoke about the fear the Republican congressional leadership has of its own party’s rank-and-file. Great! I hope Republicans will keep GOP politicians scared. And Democrats will do the same with theirs. And Libertarians and Greens will help stir the caldron.
This is the biggest upset since those crazy term limits folks took out House Speaker Tom Foley back in 1994.
And I feel fine.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.