Why Cantor Lost

Pundits have been trying to make sense of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s defeat in Tuesday’s Republican primary.  Was it his stand on immigration?  Surely that played a part.  Was it because Cantor was perceived as too willing to compromise with Democrats on the federal debt?  That was one factor.  Did Cantor’s overspending in the primary campaign hurt him?  Well, that is pretty silly.

These pundits have reviewed similar stunning electoral defeats in the last few decades:  Republican Chip Cravaak defeated Democrat Congressman Oberstar in the 2012 general election.  Brad Wenstrub defeated incumbent Congresswoman Jean Schmidt in the 2012 Republican primary.  Richard Mourdock ousted Senator Dick Lugar in the 2010 Republican primary.

The Cantor defeat is the first time in American history that a House Majority Leader has lost a party primary.  Twenty years ago, in 1994, Speaker of the House Tom Foley also lost his re-election bid, a first in American political history.  Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle lost reelection in 2004, only the second time that has ever happened.  Is there single thread in these stories?

What was happening in these elections?  Is there a common thread in these stories?

In each of these surprise electoral victories, the more conservative candidate won.  Think – think really hard – about the last time a leftist produced a “surprise” defeat of a conservative incumbent.  The leftist establishment, which runs the whole political punditry business, consistently underestimates the conservatism of Americans.  This makes sense once we know that America is a profoundly conservative nation, ruled by an insider gaggle of self-seeking leftists. 

This also explains the “surprise” these insiders feel when voters behave in a way that seems irrational to them.  What, after all, are congressmen supposed to do while in office?  Conservatives believe that congressmen and senators should prevent the federal government from intruding into our liberties and subverting our moral value system.

What else do conservatives “want” from the federal government? 

The list is pretty short: provide for our national defense, humanely and efficiently run the Veterans Administration, protect the integrity of our national borders, operate the postal services and national park systems sensibly and economically, support and maintain interstate road and maritime traffic, protect the value of the dollar and the solvency of the public treasury, insure that the federal legal system seeks individual justice and is honorable.  There isn’t much more than that.  The vast majority of what the federal government does today, we wish it would not do.

What do leftists want from their members of Congress?  Goodies – they want lots of goodies.  The federal government is a giant milk sow, and leftists want their own personal cravings and hungers sated by a comfortable position at a productive public teat.  Given that attitude, they are surprised when constituents would turn out a House majority leader groomed to be speaker of the House because he would be able to lavish his districts with all sorts of federal projects, jobs, and funds.

The left cannot understand why South Dakotans in 2004 would vote out a Senate majority leader who was willing and able to unjustly enrich that conservative state with oodles of federal niceties.  Why would Speaker Foley’s constituents vote out a massive federal breadwinner in 1994 and replace him with a relatively powerless freshman Republican?  What sort of bacon could Congressman Nethercutt bring home? 

The only way these surprise victories – always by the more conservatives candidate – makes sense is if America itself, as every single poll by every single polling organization shows, is dramatically more conservative that the power-hungry denizens of Washington and the elitist salons of the media and academia believe – and if conservative America cannot be bribed.  The Cantor defeat is proof again that conservatives are the majority, and the stunned surprise of official punditry is again proof that this conservatism remains a hidden truth among that echelon.