Today tens of thousands of VA 7th District Republicans are kicking themselves because they didn't get out and vote for Cantor yesterday.
The polls were not wrong and 70% of them had every intention of voting for Cantor yesterday. If you ask any Republican out here in the rural part of the 7th District whether or not they are going to vote, they will always say, "yes," and they usually do. But yesterday they didn't.
With a virtual monopoly on TV air time, lots and lots of robo-calls, in-person calling, a slick, colorful, Cantor brochure in the mail almost every day (and some days 2), and almost none from the Brat side, EVERY 7th District Republican knew that Cantor was going to win. I don't think the Brat people even thought they would win. So why bother to go and vote when the outcome is the same regardless and Cantor is the nominee? That mentality played out in tens of thousands of Republican minds yesterday.
On the other hand, the Teahaddists wanted to show their dissatisfaction with Cantor. Sure, there was almost no chance of winning, but a vote against Cantor would demonstrate their anger at him and perhaps influence future events.
And on yet another hand, we Democrats...
Some of you, no doubt, have the luxury of living in solidly Democratic territory, with an opportunity on a regular basis to elect real progressive Democrats to Congress. Here in the 7th District we don't ever get that. The best we can do is vote for this cycle's sacrificial lamb in a losing effort, and when I voted yesterday, I thought that I wasn't going to get that chance this year as I had not learned of the nomination of Jack Trammell as our candidate. I and a lot of other Democrats thought that this was our only chance to vote against Cantor this year.
But this time with a Republican challenger to Cantor we saw our chance. It was an opportunity to replace Darth Vader with Jar Jar Binks.
It is important to note that there was NO organized effort by the Democratic Party to get our people out to vote for Brat. I spoke to the chairman of one of the district's county committees two weeks ago. He said that in many ways Brat was worse and that the Democratic Party was not encouraging us to vote for Brat. He indicated that he knew of many Democrats that intended to get out and vote against Cantor.
It was not a vote for Brat. We didn't know anything about Brat. He could be a Dominionist Christian nut job for all we cared (oh, he is one). He was running against Cantor and that was good enough for us. No, it was a visceral, burning, pent up frustration from years and years of having to watch Cantor on the national stage opposing everything we wanted Obama to accomplish. We have daily had to hang our heads in shame that Cantor represents us in Washington.
Surveys will, no doubt, be done to sort this out, but I think that we Democrats were a significant part of the Brat Coalition.
So, does David Brat represent a majority of 7th District Republicans? No way! If the election were re-held today, Cantor would win with 60 - 70% of the vote. But that's not going to happen.
In Cantor's post election speech he specifically did not congratulate Brat. In fact, he didn't even mention Brat. It was not a concession speech at all. He did not pledge to work with him or any of the traditional things that he would have expected from Brat if the situation had been reversed. He did speak in the past tense about many things. For example, stating "Serving as the 7th District congressman and then having the privilege to be the House Majority Leader has been one of the highest honors of my life," (emphasis mine).
That's the present perfect tense and it doesn't necessarily mean that it won't continue in the future.
I think that as the data comes in on why he lost and he learns that we Democrats provided most of the margin against him, and with thousands of apologies from those who didn't get out and vote yesterday, that Cantor will decide that he can Murkowski the district and win with a write-in campaign. He does have an easy name to spell.
One final note: Jack Trammell looks like a good candidate. Brat has the advantage of having been introduced to the public with his stunning defeat of Cantor, but they are both professors at the same small private college in Ashland, VA. If Trammell is not running against Cantor, he isn't a sacrificial lamb. Wayne Powell got 41.4% last time. That entire 41.4% is going to vote for Trammell. The self-described independents that vote heavily for the incumbent regardless of party are going to be up for grabs. I think this race is dead even right now. We are going to be fired up, and this one is winnable.
He needs money. Start here.