After rising to power in the Tea Party dominated Republican Party, it could have been a violation of a core Tea Party construct that ended the career of Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), who lost last night in a primary to conservative economics professor Dave Brat.
Eric Cantor’s double digit lead turned into a stunning 9 percentage point loss
Polling had showed Eric Cantor with a double digit lead in the conservative and reliably Republican district north and west of Richmond. That lead evaporated and transformed into a stunning 9 percentage point loss for the second ranking House Republican last night.
As analysts look for reasons to Cantor’s defeat, his late campaigning and voters finally executing on their displeasure could have played a role. With approval ratings of Congress at historic lows, Cantor’s multi-million campaign war chest and slick campaign ads were defeated by a candidate with a simple message delivered on YouTube and not much, if any, spending. The campaign raised under $200,000 and had little official Tea Party support.
Tea Party voters upset with Eric Cantor’s relationship with big business
It could have been that Tea Party voters in the district were upset at Eric Cantor’s cozy relationship with big business and Wall Street in particular that really struck a chord.
Pollster Scott Rasmussen and other political observers note the Tea Party found its voice and rose to become a political force in the shadow of the big bank bailouts. (Oddly enough, Occupy Wall Street on the left has nearly the same political stand on the banks and Wall Street justice as the Tea Party.)
Eric Cantor’s most significant campaign contributions were from Wall Street, with the top three supporters being asset manager Blackstone Group, hedge fund Scoggin Capital Management and Goldman Sachs. In the campaign Bart was highly critical of Eric Cantor’s Wall Street and big business establishment donors.
“The central theme of Brat’s campaign is that Cantor is beholden to business — specifically the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable,” Politico write April 27.
After the election, national pundits were attempting to decode the big question: Who is David Brat?
On his campaign website Brat brandishes a picture of Ronald Reagan, yet Brat doesn’t likely believe in all the deficit spending as did Reagan. Amidst the NSA spying scandal, he indicates support for the constitution and individual liberty, an issue again that grass roots Tea Party members have in common with progressive Democrats. Where progressives and the Tea Party might differ is highlighted in Brat’s beliefs for “fiscal responsibility and budgetary restraints” and his open avocation of religion in the election. “Faith in God, as recognized by our Founding Fathers is essential to the moral fiber of the Nation,” was one campaign belief from the man who graduated Princeton with a Masters in Divinity and a Ph.D in Economics from American University.