Dave Brat Defeats Eric Cantor, and Writes the New Conservative Playbook
The candidate who did not lie in his campaign material, did not attempt to disenfranchise voters at several county conventions, did not help install a paid advisor as party executive director, did not headline a retreat discussing how to effectively marginalize his party's base, and did not employ a crooked, Tammany Hall thug as chief adviser just won, and the Republican Party, having chosen the path Cantor exemplified, has the opportunity to be a more representative party and to change course before November.
Over the past few months, I have done little but cover this race and the Renee Ellmers/Frank Roche race in North Carolina. I intended to expose for PJ Media readers the insiders game that the "GOP Establishment" vs. conservative/Tea Party rift has become, putting it this way back on March 18:
Were my money and resources at stake, no current House GOP member better embodies the party's leadership rot than he: his incessantly measured, strategically incoherent tacking reveals a party now guided by advisor-class tutelage, not conservatism. Additionally, his status as party-protected and groomed future speaker establishes the taking of his seat as a viable means for delivering a message to leadership.
Eric Cantor has earned his primary challenge, and I would suggest to national donors that Dave Brat is the predictably conservative challenger worthy of your interest. And with Cantor's favorables low and VA-7 possessing a conservative soul, Cantor's incumbency doesn't present the imposing challenge the party might otherwise assume of it.
The tenancies of Cantor and other "establishment" Republicans deserve sunlight. I intend to provide some here at Self-Evident over the following weeks with this "Moderate Danger" series. I expect these postings will expose the situation in a manner not generally considered during the typical "RINO" vs. conservative debate, at least in terms of winning:
Always, we argue of which strain of Republican is more palatable on Election Day. Instead, we should first be discussing and exposing -- from local sheriff races to presidential primaries -- just how many roadblocks the GOP lays down in the path of viable conservative candidates.
And this, on March 19:
The problem with a GOP leadership consisting entirely of moderates arises in its tendency to muscle out conservative representatives from conservative districts -- and I believe this stems from moderate ideology being more slanted towards statism in general, though that's a separate topic. But leadership simply is not allowing conservatives to be accountable to their electorates. And worse, the establishment is violating its pledge to remain neutral during primary season.
Leadership does not allow Tea Party/conservative representatives to serve their districts in the manner each district prefers, and with accountability to his or her campaign platforms and promises which secured electoral victory.
That's the root. Tactics.
I figured the Cantor/Brat primary would exemplify the muscling-out of conservatives, and I was right. I received pressure individually, I began to hear skin-crawling accounts of behind-the-scenes thuggery, and I was able to expose some of it for you. I wrote about 50% of what I heard, I wish I could have written all of it to give you a better picture, but trust that there was quite a bit I held back with to protect sources.
I also have confirmation that these pieces did manage to put a stop to some of the chicanery, and wish I could share that as well.
Most importantly -- do not undersize the significance of this -- Team Brat just put together the playbook for using the grassroots and new media to win as a conservative, because no challenger will face a more experienced, well-funded, by-any-means-necessary incumbent team than Brat just did.
If you can make it in Cantortown, you can make it anywhere.
Below are links to some of my prior reporting on this race. I wish I could share the elation with those of you who supported me doing this as a message to the party, and showing what -- yet again, a la Roger Simon -- a "guy in his pajamas" can help do on the national stage. In my PJ's right now, actually.
(More details at The Grid, your one-stop Website for 2014 midterm coverage.)
(EXCLUSIVE) Eric Cantor’s Top Aide: I’ll ‘Bankrupt’ Virginia GOP, Install Allies, Rebuild It With Cantor’s Donor Cash
(UPDATE: Cantor Opponent Dave Brat Demands Investigation) BANANA REPUBLICANS: New Head Of Virginia GOP on Eric Cantor’s Payroll