Your Guide to the Emerging Theories About Why Eric Cantor Lost

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) (L) speaks as House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) (R) looks on during a briefing March 5, 2014. (Alex Wong/Getty)

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary last night in a result that virtually no one predicted. That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of theories about what led to the shocking result. Buzzfeed DC bureau chief John Stanton talks about the emerging narratives, from the impact of the Tea Party, immigration, redistricting, and more.

Some of the Emerging Theories About Cantor's Loss That We'll Discuss (and Say "Not So Fast...")

  • Emerging Theory #1: Immigration Sank Cantor
  • Emerging Theory #2: The Tea Party Is Back!
  • Emerging Theory #3: Dems and Independents Crossed Over
  • Emerging Theory #4: Cantor Gerrymandered Himself Out of a Seat
  • Emerging Theory #5: People Voted Against Cantor Because He's Jewish
  • Emerging Theory #6: It's Complicated (Probably Right)

Comments [24]

It is becoming apparent that the Koch Brothers used their money to access the airwaves (Ingraham/Levine/Limbaugh) to boost an academic who still gives credence to Ayn Rand's loony 'objectivism'. (one of the few)

This primary had 20,000 more votes cast than the 2012 race. This gives some credence to the theory that Democratic voters crossed over to ruin Eric Cantor's day. I can't condone that but I sure can appreciate the irony. However, with 20,000 more votes cast Cantor got 8,000 fewer of them. This indicates that many folks who liked him in 2012 weren't so hot for him on 2014.

I'll stick with the theory that the Koch Brothers did it. Which means that the ones with the most to fear from their money are the non-Kool-Aid drinking members of the GOP. Like the space spiders from 'Lost in Space', they eat their wounded.

Jun. 15 2014 10:29 AM
Joyce Lannert from Tarrytown

I go with the gerrymander option. Brilliant as the Republicans are (of course) they've never stopped to consider what they set loose when they fiddled with the election districts! Don't they know that only the most committed (i.e. Tea Party-ers and other fanatics) vote in primaries? Remember that "reaping what you sow" bit...

Jun. 12 2014 11:27 AM

@ Joseph from Collingswood, NJ

"I don't even know who the heck votes in primaries anymore."

NJ just had one on 6/3. Did you vote? I did. My guy lost but the Democratic nominee will be the first black female in the NJ Congressional caucus. She's not as progressive as my choice but far better than Dr. Eck...What an unfortunate homophone when you ellide her name.

@MartinC -]

With the TP and Libertarians not pulling together, the Dems could win big on 11/4. Start writing your inevitable "Just wait 'til next time (sniff)" posts.
We'll know in 145 days.

Jun. 12 2014 10:47 AM
Joseph from Collingswood, NJ

I don't even know who the heck votes in primaries anymore.

Jun. 11 2014 12:55 PM

Several astute comments here. (jgarbuz comments all the time here, is often way off, and nailed an important part of the story this time.) What white group was in the lead in the civil rights (Black equality) movement? Jews. I'm not Jewish by the way.

It's hard for us urbanites to grasp what a lot of these rural Southern voters believe or how they think.

The guest talked about how the Tea Party leadership loves Reagan who loved Israel. They didn't vote in this election or send money. A small number of people motivated by wingnut talk radio voted. The only reason these people like Israel is that it is a sign of the End of Times, and will get them raptured into Heaven just like in the only books they ever read and guess what, all those Jews don't get to go. They think it's a great idea to send a particular kind of cow to Israel to speed things up. Judeo-Christian values? These people never bought the Judeo part.

Brat ran on keeping the Mexicans out and sending those here back. That is the only real difference between him and Cantor, except for Cantor being Jewish. These voters voted against Mexicans and every other minority particularly blacks and Obama, a black appearing president who has also been an unacceptable "other" (Kenyan, un-American, Muslim, Communist, Socialist etc.) from the beginning.

Cantor has been in Congress for years, and the federal government has not shrunk to bathtub size. It doesn't matter that it grew under Bush II and Reagan. It doesn't matter that a lot of these voters are on Social Security, Medicare, or SS Disability. Don't look for logic or intellectual rigor here.

Jun. 11 2014 11:47 AM

My read is that this is not so much a Tea Party win (even though Brat has more allure to the Tea Party faithful than Cantor did) as it is a win for 'anti-amnesty' fervor. Laura Ingraham was strongly behind Brat and to the degree that a radio platform can sway things, she did her best.

Henrico Co. VA (pop 320K.) and the largest country in VA's 7th district has 30% of the population below voting age. If we use that same percentage for the district as a whole, only 500,000 voters are in the district...of these 63,000 cast votes in this 'open' primary.

Brat's candidacy was sharply anti-illegal immigrant, and sharply anti-'business as usual' in DC. Cantor was perceived as part of the DC problem by the voters in his district.

Most telling is the guest's statement that (I'm paraphrasing) "...the media doesn't really know...". Truer words were never said.

I would *love* to see this district go to the Democrats. I would love to see Nancy Pelosi returned as Speaker of the House and I would love to see some real progress on employment, taxes, paring down the military and our debt (but I doubt I will).

Jun. 11 2014 11:39 AM
Brian from Hoboken

Was waiting for the Jewish caller to hypothesize about anti-semitism. Caller needs to watch the Seinfeld bit about his crazy Uncle Leo who thinks the world is anti-Semitic and out to get him.
Agree with commenters that this tiny number of people voting means nothing nationally. Ridiculously small sample size.

Jun. 11 2014 11:25 AM

Cantor is "finished", except for his soon-to-start Lobbying Career in DC.

Jun. 11 2014 11:16 AM
Ed from Larchmont

I really liked Cantor.

Jun. 11 2014 11:15 AM

Let the tea bagging begin!!

Jun. 11 2014 11:12 AM

Caller forgot the Dixiecrats!!!

Jun. 11 2014 11:07 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Eric Cantor was the highest level Jew in the Republican party and the base of that party does not trust anyone suspected of secretly harboring any liberal ideas like open borders with more immigration, pro-abortion, pro-clean alternative energy, pro-gay marriage, pro-single mother families, et cetera. So any Jew will be suspect of secretly harboring such dangerous views.

Jun. 11 2014 11:05 AM
Joyce from Brooklyn

Was this an open primary? I'd read (in the NYTimes?) that Democrats were urged to vote for the Tea Party candidate to unseat Cantor.

Jun. 11 2014 11:04 AM
Maren from Manhattan

Any chance Cantor will do a switch-Joseph Lieberman and run as an Independent?

Jun. 11 2014 11:04 AM
Joyce from Brooklyn

Was this an open primary? I'd read (in the NYTimes?) that Democrats were urged to vote for the Tea Party candidate to unseat Cantor.

Jun. 11 2014 11:03 AM
Shawn from Bergen County

Liberals should not be celebrating the demise of the Republican Eric Cantor. This is a perfect example of "The enemy of my enemy is my friend".

As a right leaning fiscal Republican, the fact that someone from the Tea Party won is scary. And it should cause anyone to the Left of the Tea Party to be scared. And that's almost all of us listening.

Jun. 11 2014 10:57 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

He lost because nobody likes him, that much is obvious. Really, the guy has zero charisma and was obviously a party functionary with no curb appeal. If the economy wasn't imploding he'd probably serve another 10 terms but people want someone to "fix" the country and they'll take anything they can get, especially someone who claims to be against the party establishment.

Jun. 11 2014 10:56 AM

Brat: an Ayn Rand buffer who thinks that religion has a place in the free market? An economist who favors deregulation of produce? A person running on the anti-establishment ticket but is backed by the same clowns who gets everyone elected?
Another Randian Christian, an oxymoron if there ever was one. And most of his higher learning was acquired, big shocker, from hyper conservative religious institutions. He believes in the Prosperity Gospel, which if you are a mainstream Christian makes as much sense as the Satanic Bible.
Destroying employer insurance is a great start in destroying middle class income. Not supporting agricultural protections is another nail in the family farm. He plans to join the House get rich and join the rich guys, that is what poor Republican candidates do. Watch in four years he will be worth $3 -4 Million and write another book on how to buy closed farms, reposed houses and closed small businesses. A genuine Tea Party Hero! Making America more third world every day.
Tea party brats vote for Brat!

Jun. 11 2014 10:55 AM

Ps more good news one less JD in the people's house!

BL should do a show; are politicians being ripped off by the people who run their campaigns? They don't even getting polling right.

Jun. 11 2014 10:55 AM

On 'Rate My Professor' the guy the Democrats picked has a higher rating.

Jun. 11 2014 10:47 AM
Joe from nearby

The only thing this election reveals is that Cantor couldn't turn his base out to vote.
Only 5% of the district voted at all, in a district that the Republicans gerrymandered in their favor, in one little district out of thousands in the USA. So the commentators currently making breathless prognostications that "the tea party is alive & well & just as strong as ever!" are closing their eyes to the actual facts.

Let's hope that the other 95% of that district comes pout to vote in the general election and are as appalled by the tea party whackadoodles as the rest of us.

Jun. 11 2014 10:39 AM

Proves my point money doesnt vote.
Big congrats to VA 7
12 years is about 6 too many
don't cry for cantor. they have his resume on k $t already. $$$

Jun. 11 2014 10:31 AM

The Senate Judiciary Committee should invite Cantor or his Campaign Treasurer to comment on how being force to amass a #5.4 million to $200,000.
budget advantage distorted the will of the electorate. Maybe it calls for a comment from some peripatetic astrophysicist on the nature of "dark money"?

Money doesn't vote.
Corporations do not vote.

Jun. 11 2014 10:10 AM
arthur from Manhattan

Only 36,000 people voted for the winner of this race. The district has a population of about 700,000 people. That is about 5% of the population.

Jun. 11 2014 10:04 AM

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