This is the most stunning result so far of the political year in the US.
Eric Cantor, the House of Representatives Majority Leader and the second most powerful Republican (after Speaker John Boehner) in the House, has lost his party’s nomination in Virginia’s Seventh District to Dave Brat, an economics professor who ran with tea party support.
The unhappiness with Cantor among the GOP’s rightwing grassroots was clear when the congressman tried to defend his conservative credentials before a raucous convention of Seventh District Republicans last month.
Update: The Washington Post reports:
A seemingly critical issue for Cantor was immigration. The majority leader had championed a Republican version of the Dream Act, which would enable some undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children to qualify for in-state college tuition rates. Although Cantor never brought the legislation to the House floor, his support for the idea irritated staunch opponents of immigration reform.
The message is clear: any hint of cooperation with Democrats on immigration reform is poison to most of the GOP’s base.
Further update: Is this the lesson Republicans will learn?
Right-wing radio host Mark Levin, a Brat supporter, said Tuesday night on Fox News that Cantor’s defeat means Republicans should “stop chasing ethnic groups, stop chasing genitalia” and instead listen to conservatives.
Is “genitalia” a reference to women and/or gays? If so, I don’t think the GOP can be fairly accused of chasing them (or “chasing ethnic groups”) in the first place.