Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Was It the Beauty of Accountability that Slayed the Beast?

Today I’m seeing conservatives blowing off the suggestion that Cantor’s loss was in any part due to the open primary factor allowing non-Republicans to vote. Including Democrats. Usually, when there’s evidence of even a little bit of crossover voting in a primary, the supporters for the establishment candidate squawk like it was a crime.

This time, so far, not so much. So let's look at some numbers:

According to the results posted by the State Board of Elections, Dave Brat won in the Seventh District by 11 points. Parts of nine counties are in that district, as well as part of Richmond‘s West End (west of I-95).

In the doing, Brat carried Chesterfield (10%), Goochland (9%), Hanover (36%), Henrico (7%), Louisa (11%) and New Kent (25%).

Cantor carried Culpepper (2%), Orange (22%), City of Richmond (9%) and Spotsylvania (8%).

Although I haven’t looked at the individual precinct totals, it doesn’t seem the numbers above suggest that raw ideology or a single issue were the only factors in Cantor‘s defeat. If Brat’s win was entirely due to his Tea Party credentials, why wouldn’t Orange support the candidate perceived to be the most conservative? Do Republicans in Orange care so much less about Cantor's immigration reform stance than those in Hanover? 

Likewise, why wouldn’t the suburbs of Richmond support the man portrayed as more moderate/establishment? Losing in Chesterfield and Henrico had to have shocked Cantor.

It looks to me like the effort to get Democrats and independents to vote in the primary was an important factor. Hopefully, once the exit poll results come in and some analysis is done, we'll have a clearer picture of how this stunning upset happened.

After seven terms, I do know that Cantor was widely seen as standing for little more than his own accumulation of power in the House. So, at this point I have to say I'm glad Cantor lost and maybe something akin to accountability won. And, I'm looking forward to what the experts will be saying a week from now about why.  

No comments: