(Richmond, VA) – Over the past few weeks, the United States has witnessed several more school shootings. Extreme weather has threatened millions. Stemming from a severe car accident, comedian Tracy Morgan is in critical condition in a New Jersey hospital. And Iraq, where the country lost over 4,000 Americans in an attempt to give democracy a chance, is spiraling towards either splitting apart or becoming a country governed by Islamic Fundamentalists.
For House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) none of these events are as important, disturbing, or seismic as are his own personal problems.
On Tuesday, Cantor lost his primary election race – 55% to 44% – to Tea Partyist Dave Brat (R-VA). It’s the first time in American history that a House Majority Leader has lost a bid for re-election. The last time something similar occurred: the defeat of Speaker of the House of Tom Foley (D-WA) in 1989 – something that hadn’t happened since 1862.
What’s more remarkable is that Brat won despite stark financial disadvantages. He spent $200,000 on his campaign; Cantor spent $5 million.
Two days after the epic electoral defeat, Cantor is still reeling. His allies are hysterical. His constituents are presumably ecstatic, as are his enemies and detractors.
And then there’s his boss, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), the man he was presumably looking to stab in the back to get his job. Cantor was always presumed to be a candidate should Boehner retire or be voted out of office. Since the election results, Boehner has largely been silent.
“Speaker Boehner has decided to take some time off,” said a Boehner spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “He’s busy crying his usual crocodile tears. He’s been tanning himself for the summer months. And he’s trying to cut down on his smoking. In fact, people have been offering to buy him boxes of Nicoderm provided he’d use all of the patches at once.
“Average, ordinary, everyday Americans probably don’t realize that the dosage would kill him.”
“We know,” replied an average, ordinary, everyday American, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Cantor says he’s dealing with the defeat by leaning on his Jewish faith. But many friends and analysts aren’t buying it.
“Cantor went from being a political ‘big fish’ to being a gefilte fish,” said a Cantor ally, speaking on condition of anonymity. “And not just the gefilte fish, but the ectoplasm you find in the jar. I mean, he’s gone from being one of the most powerful men in the world to six months out from being a private citizen. That’s got to be a shock to his system.”
Political scientists, talking heads, and Beltway insiders will be dissecting this election for months, if no longer, to determine what really cost Cantor his job. Some say it was his support for immigration reform – which many conservative Republicans do not support. Some say it was his support for re-opening the Federal government in October after Republicans shut it down – which many conservative Republicans did not support.
Others say it was his support for wasting time holding over 50 votes on repealing the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). They say it was his focus on Washington politics and power instead of taking care of his constituents back in Richmond. And some say it was his readiness to plot a coup against Boehner in a perceived power grab.
“I know exactly why Cantor lost,” said a constituent, speaking on condition of anonymity. “You’ve can’t just get elected and not care about the people you represent. You’ve got to remember where you came from and who you owe that Congressional seat to. In the end, Cantor only cared about himself, just like the rest of them.”
As for Brat, he’s claiming divine intervention for his improbable win.
“I attribute [the win] to God,” said Brat, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“I attribute the win to Mephistopheles,” said a Tea Partyist critic, speaking on condition of anonymity.