Everyone is concerned about the impact of big money on political elections. I am concerned about it, as evidenced by this recent satirical poem I wrote on the subject. And then along comes this fellow Dave Brat, beating the House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a gigantic upset in the Republican primary, despite Cantor’s campaign having spent more than 40 times as much money as Brat’s campaign.
Obviously, for any plutocrats looking to buy elections, this would have to be a bit troubling. If Cantor couldn’t win despite having such a massive financial advantage, then is any election safely bought and paid for? And it wasn’t like they had caught Cantor in some giant scandal right before the primary either, which is about the only way one could normally imagine this happening. Everyone was just assuming Cantor would win.
Apparently, the Cantor people didn’t pay for accurate polls, which might have told them how much dire trouble they were in, and gotten people scrambling to do something. They just wandered into their defeat without understanding what was going on.
How did this happen? How did people even find out Brat was a guy they wanted to vote for? Was it just a matter of a bunch of Republican voters wandering in to the polls, seeing “Eric Cantor v. Random Other Guy” on the ballot and thinking to themselves “well, Cantor’s bound to win, but I don’t like him being such a stuffed-shirt Washington insider, so I’ll vote for the other fellow as protest,” never thinking he might actually win?
I keep hearing that it’s about “grassroots opposition to immigration reform”. I’m skeptical of the impact of “grassroots opposition”. Ordinarily, grassroots opposition and $2.95 will get you a cup of coffee in Republican primaries. The Republican establishment crushes grassroots opposition to things all the time. What made this different?