Yesterday, the state of Virginia engaged in an exercise near and dear to the hearts of any American who values their say in government: voting. It was primary day here, and Ms. Raine and I certainly went to the polls to vote for the Democratic candidate we wanted to replace retiring House Rep Jim Moran. Sadly, our choice did not win. Don Beyer will be the Dem candidate, which means he is the de-facto House Rep for Virginia's 8th district come next January. Our district is deep blue.
That was barely a blip on the radar. The BIG news was that House Majority leader (and perpetual asshole) Eric Cantor lost in the primary
to a Tea Party challenger (Dave Brat). While Brat takes a stand on numerous issues
(his stance is as far-right as you can get without falling off the edge of the flat earth), his main campaign focus was on immigration, and Eric Cantor's audacity to consider reform. I find it hard to believe that the voters in that district are that fired up over immigration, when there are so many other pressing issues to deal with, but then - I find it hard to believe people actually vote for Republicans at all.
Brat got a boost from FOX "News" commentator Laura Ingraham
who has never met a Mexican she likes (she probably secretly despises the illegal immigrant who cleans her house). Laura caters to racist haters with comments like fun jabs at attempts to feed immigrant children in detention by playing the "Yo quiero Taco Bell" commercial from the 90s
. What a monster.
Those who eat this kind of nastiness up are the kinds of people who vote in Republican primaries and elect
tea baggers like Dave Brat. This is what Karl Rove was trying to stop, where primaries oust powerful (and/or more electable) Republicans for far-right nutters that have trouble beating more reasonable Democratic challengers in the general election. Whether or not Brat wins the general in November, this is a net-loss for the Republican power structure. Boehner has lost a powerful ally (two-faced though he was... better the devil you know than the devil you don't know). The Republican party will need to find a new majority leader. There's also a chance that there will be a big turnout in November, and the seat could flip.
Over the years, Republicans disillusioned with the direction and antics of the Republican party have been switching to "Independent" or even "Democrat"
Near the end of Bush's disastrous two-term Presidency, it was an easy decision for me to vote for Obama over McCain. But, it was the creation of the Tea Party facet of the Republican Party in 2010 that turned me into a loyal Democrat, rather than an Independent. I don't feel I abandoned the Republican Party but, I do feel the Republican Party abandoned me. Their emerging views on government, religion, women's rights, workers' rights, income inequality, violence against women, equal pay for women, minorities' voting rights, made me move away from these radical ideologues as quickly as possible.
In 2014, the Republican Party is now split between the old GOP idealists and the new GOP obstructionists; between those who know their message is losing voters and want to change it and, those who would rather suppress and buy the vote, than change the message. The GOP no longer stands for Grand Old Party, but for Greedy Old Plutocrats.
This is why Every Election Matters
- even the primaries (maybe even especially
the primaries). How many Republicans in VA's 7th district are kicking themselves for not turning out yesterday?... or who might decide to pull the "D" lever in December? More people voted in Kentucky's Dem primary than the Rep primary
. What does that say? The stage is being set for what could be a big change in November - but it requires funding, advocacy, and turnout. You still have 5 months - make sure you have no regrets on Nov 5th.