(H/t to Drocedus.)
In the hours since Dave Brat's upset of Eric Cantor - the first time a sitting House Majority Leader has lost his primary election - there has been much talk of "How Did This Happen?"
How did a guy Cantor outspent by forty to one beat him? Was it just rabid conservatives devouring the man they once lauded, as the conventional wisdom insists?
Or was it, in fact, a Cooter d'Etat?
Follow me across the fold.
There are clues everywhere. The key is how to interpret them.
First, we have Ben "Cooter" Jones, who Cantor defeated back in 2002 when Jones tried to get back into Congress, calling for Virginia Democrats to cross over and vote for Brat in the 2014 Republican primary.
Next, we have the fact that Cantor outspent Brat by a factor of forty to one ($5 million to $122,000) and still lost.
Finally, we have the curious pattern (and relatively large number as it turns out) of votes in VA-07. Of the four county-level areas that Cantor won, three -- Spotsylvania, Orange, and Culpeper -- were the most conservative parts of his district. (The other was his tiny chunk of the City of Richmond.) Whereas the large, and more liberal counties surrounding Richmond -- New Kent, Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, and Louisa -- all went for Brat, with Hanover making an especially strong showing.
Since when does a Tea Partier lose the most conservative parts of a CD and win the most liberal? When large numbers of Democrats are crossing over to vote for him as a way to screw Cantor.
So now, instead of facing an entrenched establishment Republican able to command millions of dollars at the snap of his fingers, the Democrat that will run in the general, Jack Trammell, will be facing a guy who will be lucky to get more than $2 million out of the Republican establishment.
Pass. The. Popcorn!
UPDATE: More evidence it was a Cooter d'Etat: VA-07 Democratic crossover voters speak!
UPDATE 2: As JackND says in the comments, how else do you explain a forty-point swing? Cantor's own internal polling had him up by thirty percentage points - yet he lost by around ten.