Soon-to-be former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s [R- VA] stunning loss in his primary race for the 7th district this past Tuesday is giving some Democrats reason to celebrate. But through the excitement of seeing a major Republican leader embarrassed in his home district they would be wise to approach the future with caution. A Democratic Party official was quoted by Business Insider as calling the news “unfrigginbelievable.” The Democratic candidate for Cantor’s seat in 2016 is Jack Trammel who, along with the man who unseated Cantor, Dave Brat, is a professor at Randolph-Macon College. Trammel’s campaign facebook page as of this writing already has over 12,000 “likes” and hundreds of comments urging him to fight for a seat which many now see as being in play for him. The page was only created one day before the primary. When the dust settles, however, it will be seen that the only group for whom this is really good news is the uber-conservative, sometimes rebellious wing of the GOP called the Tea Party.
The GOP Establishment
This is obviously bad news for the moderate and established Republicans, especially those in leadership positions such as Speaker of the House John Boehner [R- OH]. When a man like Eric Cantor can be defeated from the right, almost solely for supporting limited immigration reform, there isn’t a registered Republican in office anywhere who won’t be scrambling to prove their conservative credentials.
Even though this may look like good news on the surface, the reality for Democrats is that the Tea Party is alive and well. That means at least two more years of candidates who will not compromise and will go so far as to hold the country’s finances hostage to push their agenda. While the divisive tactics and policies of the Tea Party may help the Democrats hold a majority in the Senate and even claim a third straight presidential victory in 2016, the reality is that the House will stay out of reach, and impossible to work with.
The Tea Party
For the Tea Party, this means that the Republican establishment must and will take them seriously. Boehner and his team thought they had tamed the beast and that they could keep the Tea Party under control. Cantor’s loss proves that nothing could be further from the truth.