Voters Can't Be Ignored

June 15, 2014 | | Times-Union |

The unexpected shellacking of House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor was a genuine earthquake. Pundits will explain it variously, as evidence of their various, pre-existing political views. It's much more interesting than that. It may even be important, but that's not clear.

Only in the right-wing echo chamber can Cantor be viewed as insufficiently conservative. He's been the Republicans' brains and brawn for repeal of the New Deal, the Great Societyand Obamacare, and the architect of the most contentious and confrontational legislative tactics in recent memory.

But primaries are the place where ideas really bubble to the surface, and where committed minorities can shape the debate. So it was in Virginia. Cantor probably fell from a combination of heretical views on immigration (let minor children stay) and his role as majority leader (it kept him a little remote from his district). "Amnesty" was not to be tolerated. A tea party true believer named David Brat focused on amnesty was outspent 40-to-1 and still beat him.