The political world was stunned Tuesday when Republican primary voters gave Congressman Eric Cantor the boot. This was the first time in history that a sitting Majority Leader was defeated by his own party. No one saw this coming, including the media and over-paid political pundits. Immediately the so-called experts blamed Cantor’s defeat on immigration reform. They are wrong. Immigration is not the reason Cantor lost, Cantor is.
The college professor who defeated Cantor, Tea Partier David Brat, did use immigration reform as a club to attack Cantor. That may have had more to do with Brat’s lack of knowledge on other issues than a belief that voters were concerned about immigration reform. The facts are that voters in that Congressional district support immigration reform by large numbers. A poll taken on Election Day showed that 72 percent of voters either supported or strongly supported immigration reform. Even Republicans in that district favored reform.
That poll was not an fluke; it was consistent with earlier polls. Brat won in spite of his stand on immigration, not because of it.
Eric Cantor, like Senator Marco Rubio, is an immigration SINO—supporter in name only. Cantor was, in many ways, the single reason that immigration reform was not enacted. He refused to bring it up for a vote in the House, knowing it would pass. Cantor made wishy-washy public statements on immigration reform so he could rake in pallets full of cash from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He took the cash, then screwed them over.
During the primary, however, Cantor flooded the mail boxes of Republicans in his district with tough, anti-immigration brochures, giving himself credit for stopping immigration reform. He took that page from Senator Marco “Both Ways” Rubio. Contrast Cantor’s defeat with Senator Lindsey Graham’s win. Graham embraced immigration reform in his South Carolina primary the same day, and won. South Carolina is not a hotbed of pro-immigrant sentiment.
If Cantor favored immigration reform, it would have been the law of the land a year ago. This is a fact the so-called political pundits seemed to miss in their rush to blame immigration for Cantor’s fall.
The real reason Cantor lost was that he was more concerned with his personal ambition to be Speaker of the House than he was towards either governing, or representing the people of his district. There are few politicians in Washington who ignored his constituents to the degree Eric Cantor did. He had not held a town hall meeting in years, seldom went to the district during the frequent vacations he gave himself and fellow House members.
Cantor spent his time promoting Cantor, starting with writing a book called the “Young Guns” promoting himself along with Paul Ryan and his hand-picked heir-apparent, Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy. His focus was getting wined and dined by lobbyists and raising money. Cantor was so obsessed with being Speaker, and forgot he was a Representative.
Cantor did not see this coming because he relied on “unskewed” polls, like Mitt Romney. On the day of the primary, Cantor was in Washington meeting with lobbyists and not even in his district. He was convinced he would win by 34 percentage points. Like Romney, he was stunned.
Cantor’s pollster, McLaughlin & Associates, has been wrong many times in recent years. They bought into the unskewed polls farce, and can’t seem to give it up. The reason they are consistently wrong is that they can not predict who is actually going to turn out in an election. Had every Republican voted, Cantor may have won, but not by 34 percent. However, only 13 percent of Republicans showed up.
Cantor was a loser Tuesday, but immigration reform did not lose a champion. It lost a two-faced obstructionist who kept immigration reform from receiving an up or down vote in the House.