OK, so why did Eric Cantor, next-in-line to the Republican leadership, lose his seat in yesterday’s election?
1. The Republicans have gotten so crazy that even Cantor was seen as a “RINO” (Republican In Name Only) for being reasonable enough to support things like immigration reform. For Cantor to be accused of being “liberal” is like accusing Bernie Sanders of being a “conservative.” No sane person would believe it. And therein lies your answer.
2. Hardly anybody voted. Who can you always count on to vote? That’s right — the extremists. People who are angry. And people who are politically active (who also tend to be more liberal and more conservative than the average person). So when you stay home, they get their way. And that’s why the guys elected often seem to not represent their constituents — because they really don’t.
3. It was an open primary. This means people who are not Republicans got to choose the candidate. In open primaries, the opposite party will sometimes go out and vote for the candidate they think will be easier to defeat in November. Democrats did this yesterday, although it is unclear whether it was in sufficient numbers to have made a difference, since Cantor was pretty well trounced.
So Cantor’s loss gives us good news and bad news.
Good news: Eric Cantor has lost his seat in the House
Bad news: He lost it to someone crazier than he is
Good news: This tea party guy won’t have the seniority or power Cantor had and so will do less damage
Bad news: It’s such a Republican district, the Democrats have little chance of winning in November