That happened. It’s one for the history books. Eric Cantor — self-styled “young gun,” big finance champion, Virginia Congressman and House Majority leader — was defeated in a surprise landslide election to Tea Party novice politician and Catholic economics professor David Brat. Cantor hasn’t done a lot in Congress, by design mostly, and has seemed committed largely to serving as a partisan mouthpiece, dependably trotting out anti-Obama talking points on cue. But now he has achieved something truly memorable: He is the first majority leader in history to lose a party primary race since 1899.
Joan Walsh at Salon tells us how she really feels: “Eric Cantor got what he deserved: A political fraud’s stunning demise.”
Mitt Romney in 2012 thought he was going to win the presidency until the minute he discovered, all dressed up on a ballroom floor, that he had lost in a landslide. His team had “unskewed” all the “liberal” polls that showed he would lose and disregarded “liberal media” reporting that suggested he didn’t have a chance to win, so what happened? Cantor yesterday said he’s not to blame for his own electoral catastrophe, really, because internal campaign polling assured him he was up by 34 points. Clearly, there is something terribly wrong with the way top-level Republicans are running their campaigns. Five Thirty Eight on the surprise upset. Gawker on the pollster paid $75,000 to deliver results off by 44 points.
Given the pre-vote polling and the lopsided election results, it’s natural, in some quarters at least, to ask “Could there have been any chicanery at work here?” The place to start exploring that question is the home of voting-system/elections watchdog Brad Friedman:
It’s a legitimate question, Friedman writes at The Brad Blog, “given that the reported results in this earthquake of an election haven’t actually been verified by any human beings. Rather, the results, from 9 different counties (and one city) that make up the impossibly gerrymandered 7th District, which Cantor helped carve out for himself, are all based on the numbers reported by the oft-failed, easily-manipulated computer tabulators from the alphabet soup of different types of electronic voting and tabulation systems used in each of the separate jurisdictions that comprise the district.”
One embittered Cantor supporter throws wine in face of immigration-reform election night protestor. Another one shouts at them: “Get a job!”
In non-Cantor news:
The “bodyguard blanket,” a bullet proof mat, basically, is being marketed as the latest way to address America’s ongoing school shooting problem. Only $1000 each — and, bonus, all proceeds dedicated to the National Rifle Association.* (Only the very last part after the dash is not true!) Gawker: “Encouraging schools to buy bulletproof blankets they probably can’t afford is not as insidious as, say, Wayne LaPierre’s insistence that every school be outfitted with a gun-toting police officer, but it stems from the same mentality. Rather than deal with the problems that lead to school shootings — lax gun control, limited access to mental health care, boys with unchecked anger — we should accept them as inevitable and gear up to protect ourselves from the bullets.”
Artist Deborah de Robertis — whose work seeks to challenge male-female/artist-audience relationships — sits down on the floor of the Musée D’Orsay right under Gustav Courbet’s painting of a woman’s vagina called “The Origin of the World,” hikes up her dress, spreads her legs and exhibits her own live version of Courbet’s subject. Patrons milling about clap and take video. After five minutes, museum guards usher the crowd from the gallery and convince de Robertis to abandon her project. Art or not art? Discuss.
Tom Engelhardt: “If the USA were to stop fighting wars, which drain us of national treasure, we would also have a long-term solution to the Veterans Administration health-care crisis. It’s not the sort of thing said in our world, but the VA is in a crisis of financing and caregiving that, in the present context, cannot be solved, no matter whom you hire or fire. The only long-term solution would be to stop fighting losing wars that the American people will pay for decades into the future, as the cost in broken bodies and broken lives is translated into medical care and dumped on the VA.”
In Wisconsin, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman reminded the country that polling-place voter impersonation fraud — the only kind that voter IDs can combat — does not happen. And yet, to almost no one’s surprise, a poll taken in Wisconsin just weeks after her ruling in Wisconsin found that “Many voters there believed voter impersonation and other kinds of vote fraud were widespread — the likely result of a years-long campaign by conservative groups to raise concerns about the practice.” Brendan Nyhan at The Upshot.
Former Colorado Congresswoman and state treasurer candidate Betsy Markey: “George Will is an idiot.” College campus sexual assault is real and tragic, she wrote in a fundraiser email, and should not be written off as an exaggeration used to make “victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges.”
Amy Davidson at The New Yorker has a similar if not as blunt take on the George Will follies.