Lessons from Eric Cantor's defeat — and maybe for Arkansas, too | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Lessons from Eric Cantor's defeat — and maybe for Arkansas, too

Posted By on Wed, Jun 11, 2014 at 7:06 AM

click to enlarge ERIC CANTOR: His defeat has some application in Arkansas.
  • ERIC CANTOR: His defeat has some application in Arkansas.
Ezra Klein at Vox rattled off a handy list of 11 lessons to be learned from Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's defeat in Virginia last night. It's a smart list and seems to have some applications in Arkansas.

For example:

"Republicans" are not the same as "Republican primary voters." In 2012, Eric Cantor won the general election with more than 220,000 votes. Tonight, Brat beat him with about 36,000 votes. It's possible and even likely that the vast majority of Republicans in Virginia's 7th District liked Cantor just fine. But primaries only count the people who come out to vote.

In Arkansas, "Republicans" are not the same as the conservative-leaning electorate that will decide the general election. Is Arkansas ready to elect a pure Tea Party candidate in the general election? In select legislative districts, maybe. In a statewide election? I don't think so. That, I think, is why Asa Hutchinson is performing better than Tom Cotton in polling. Cotton is nothing if not true to his extremist views. Hutchinson is just about as extreme but managed to finesse it to preserve his general election appeal, even in a primary with some wackjobs.

The Republican Party has a serious data problem. In 2012, Mitt Romney's internal polls were garbage. This year, Eric Cantor's internal polls showed him up by more than 30 points. Something is deeply wrong with the GOP's campaign infrastructure if the party's presidential nominee and the party's House majority leader can't rely on their pollsters.

Remember the Arkansas Republican polling that said they'd have 60-plus seats in the House in 2012 and an even bigger margin than they won in the Senate? This is why I take all internal Republican polling with even more salt than you should apply to ALL internal polling. Is the Cotton internal poll showing him with a commanding lead really right and ALL the other nonpartisan polling wrong? I doubt it.

Some on the left are envious of the Tea Party's success at cowing Republicans. "The Left endorsed Cuomo; the Right successfully primaried the sitting House Majority Leader = how the country keeps moving to the right," tweeted Max Berger. Others voiced similar sentiments. But this isn't how the country keeps moving right. This is how the country keeps moving left.

This is the Republican myopia that plays out so often in Arkansas. Take Jason Rapert. Please. He may indeed be unassailable in his own district with his brush arbor fundamentalism and demonization of the "others" among us. But his hatred of Barack Obama and those who support him blinds him to the empirical absolutism of two big majority victories for the object of his ire. If his party continues to demonize immigrants, gays, poor people, minorities and liberals, it may win the Arkansas legislature but it won't win the presidency. "We the People" will cheer Madame President Clinton.

By the way, I'm not sure the anti-immigrant fervor that propelled Cantor's opponent in a whitebread district applies the same in Arkansas. Gov. Mike Beebe's disappointing unwillingness to lead on immigration is probably a good indicator that it remains the safe political road, but I don't think it's nearly so toxic to be compassionate here. See Mike Huckabee.

PS — This pollling in Cantor's district shows overwhelming support for immigration reform. But only a narrow, very motivated slice of the district voted in Republican primary. Also, voters in the district just don't like Cantor much.

Tags: , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Trump launches attack on 'SOBs' of the NFL

    Donald Trump led a rally for Alabama Senate candidate Luther Strange Friday night and the resulting news coverage (if not in our local newspaper) is giving great attention for his rant against the NFL, including but not limited to players who have made political statements by taking a knee during the National Anthem.
    • Sep 23, 2017
  • Driver killed in crash with Maumelle officer

    Maumelle police report the death early this morning of a motorist who crashed head-on with a Maumelle police officer. The officer and two passengers in the other vehicle were injured.
    • Sep 23, 2017
  • Walmart lawyer picked for U.S. attorney in western Arkansas

    Donald Trump has nominated Duane "Dak" Kees,  director of global ethics and compliance at Walmart Stores, to be U.S. attorney for the western district of Arkansas. It has been filled on an interim basis by a career lawyer in the office.
    • Sep 22, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Auditor Lea caught not telling the truth

    State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
    • Mar 4, 2016
  • Among the last words from Kenneth Williams: 'Finger Lickin' Good Fried Chicken'

    What's purported to be a final-words essay from condemned prisoner Kenneth Williams was distributed today by Deborah Robinson, a freelance journalist in Arkansas.  He reflects on his execution, his victims, reactions of inmates and big servings of fried chicken, which he says are given to all inmates on execution days.
    • Apr 27, 2017
  • Another Republican miracle-working governor

    Great piece in Washington Post on the budget crisis in Louisiana. Big tax cuts and corporate welfare will do that to a state, particularly to a state whose previous governor, Republican Bobby Jindal, refused to join the Obamacare-funded Medicaid expansion. There's a lesson there for Arkansas.
    • Mar 4, 2016

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Most Viewed

  • Trump launches attack on 'SOBs' of the NFL

    Donald Trump led a rally for Alabama Senate candidate Luther Strange Friday night and the resulting news coverage (if not in our local newspaper) is giving great attention for his rant against the NFL, including but not limited to players who have made political statements by taking a knee during the National Anthem.
  • Legislature itches for more control over 'independent' agencies

    Michael Wickline of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports this morning on growing tension over the legislature's effort to exert more control over the state's constitutionally independent agencies. The immediae target is the Game and Fish Commission, but it's a sprawling dispute over balance of powers.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation