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Libertarian-thinking tea party candidate David Bart beat the most powerful Republican in Congress, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. It is the end of the world, a tea party takeover of the Republican Party! The legislative process will cease to go forward.

To be clear, David Brat beating Eric Cantor will change absolutely nothing. The Republican Congress is the least productive Congress in American history. Replacing a majority leader who was instrumental in that lack of productivity with a very junior congressman who will likely play a minor role in governing the caucus is, at worst, an even swap.

The punditry and everyone else should stop hyperventilating about the Brat victory. It means absolutely nothing to an already failed party. That said, there is a very large positive that grassroots progressives should be hyperventilating about—more about that a bit later.

One of the big cause célèbre of progressives and others is the corrosive effect of money in politics. The U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted the Constitution in a manner that has codified that corporations are people, aka corporate personhood (Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad and Pembina Consolidated Silver Mining Co. v. Pennsylvania).

As people, corporations get to partake of our inalienable rights codified in the Bill of Rights. They get free speech and much more. Further, the Supreme Court codified that money is a form of speech (Buckley v. Valeo). It isn’t hard to see how all this evolved into giving PACs and corporations virtually unlimited "speech" (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission). It is then easy to understand giving the individual virtually unlimited "speech" (McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission).

Follow below the fold for more.

There are a multitude of organizations collecting millions of dollars from the grassroots to fight this battle, a battle that must be fought. It is a battle that must be won. That said, it was with awe that one watched the returns on Tuesday night with Brat’s victory over Cantor. Irrespective of the advantage given to corporate money, the underdog won.

The man who spent less than Eric Cantor spent on serving steaks to lobbyists won. The man no one took seriously won. The man who spoke to the hearts of his base won. The man who worked tirelessly won. The man who walked door to door won.

CNN.com had a piece titled 7 reasons Eric Cantor lost. The article did not highlight the most important reason Cantor lost as much as it should have: He was disconnected from his base. It is not only that he was at a Starbucks fundraising on Election Day, it's that he seemed to be working for everyone except his own constituents. Most believe that unlimited money, advertising and negative attacks can always mitigate these misdeeds, especially if one has a façade of being like you. David Brat disproved that.

So what can Eric Cantor’s loss to David Brat teach progressive activists and their candidates? Quite a bit, it turns out.

First, his win is very inspiring. One can disagree with everything this Libertarian bastion of inconsistent economic beliefs stands for and still respect his epic accomplishment. More importantly, one can learn from his method.

Second, the tea party, though a minority, is successful because of message homogeneity and actions of a particular sect of their movement. Even if they don’t win, they are feared because they might win. It is for this reason the Republican Party is now the tea party, in deeds if not in name.

The progressive wing of the Democratic Party is more in line with the values of America. If one enumerates these values item by item, there is American support. What is lacking is connecting to Americans’ hearts. What is lacking is the ability to meet Americans at their doorsteps instead of asking Americans to see why the progressive way supports their values and their economic interests.

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Comment Preferences

  •  There is a strong anti-corporatist streak (46+ / 0-)

    that runs through the Tea Party -- they saw Cantor as basically the servant of Wall Street. It's more of a crony capitalism beef than something more structural, but it's an in that I think the left should try to understand and work with in its attempts to win people over.

  •  What is lacking ... (13+ / 0-)
    What is lacking is connecting to Americans’ hearts. What is lacking is the ability to meet Americans at their doorsteps instead of asking Americans to see why the progressive way supports their values and their economic interests.
    are the guts to take a stand on core Democratic Party values, whihc very much connect to the heart.  With a set of clear values and some spine, the messaging will follow.  Elizabeth Warren is a case in point.  Most of the rest are just pathetic, expediency driven politicians with little if any moral imperative in the same general class as Cantor, but with different policy prescriptions.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 04:09:04 PM PDT

    •  Sending a message (0+ / 0-)

      If you had the resources to send a message it would mean picking someone to her left and keep running each cycle until like marriage equality it became the new normal

      It may take you 15 years but you would get a lot more out if it

    •  Is it your argument that voters are unaware of (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aquarius40, a2nite, scott5js

      "core Democratic Party values"?  If so, I would disagree because voters have not validated that position at the polls.  There has clearly been an upsurge in Republican support over the last 40 years (Why, is a different question).  I would suggest the problem is one of "who" comprises the electorate.  More specifically, Democratic voters don't vote consistently enough to demand/command allegiance to "core Democratic Party values" from Democratic politicians.  As a result, Democratic politicians are left scrambling for a majority on election day, particularly in midterms.

      "Because I am a river to my people."

      by lordcopper on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 04:37:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Political views don't happen in a vacuum (0+ / 0-)

        N/t

        •  Meaning what? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          scott5js

          "Because I am a river to my people."

          by lordcopper on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 04:53:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Meaning exactly what it says (0+ / 0-)

            A single data point ,even if true  (which it isn't , but imagining that it is), tells us nothing of the systemic forces acting to shape public opinion

            It is like acting like the hard won shift in opinion about marriage equality happened in a vacuum

            Let me now add a deeper point:

            Ideology as a static POV makes democrats sound like victims when the truth is they are active in the political process

            •  Great point, but I was referencing the last 40 (0+ / 0-)

              years.  BTW, the "Marriage Equality" analogy doesn't apply here.  We're talking about elections, not polls on public policy.  Referendums on "Marriage Equality" will still fail in the vast majority of states, ironically for the reason I mentioned (lack of voter turnout).  The "Marriage Equality" argument is making headway in the courts, not via elections.

              "Because I am a river to my people."

              by lordcopper on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 05:36:04 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  My argument is that (so-called) Democratic (5+ / 0-)

        politicians rarely take a stand on those values.  They might talk policy or legislation, but they rarely harken back to the basics.  They don't bring them up because it would mean that have to take a stand, which they view as more risky than taking a mutable position they can slip from in order to get votes (or so they hope).

        As bad as the Repubs are, you generally know where they stand on values.  They are not afraid to do so despite how abhorrent those values may be.  The result is people know what to expect, which is comforting.  And they look strong which is also attractive if you're gonna trust them to run the country.  The Dems appear feckless with no anchor by contrast and therefore are seen as weak (which they largely are).

        That's my argument.

        The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

        by accumbens on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 07:17:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Clearly stated, and I agree with your statement (2+ / 0-)

          about Democratic politicians.  However, it is very difficult to ask a politician to take a stand on an issue when voters won't come out and support them after doing so.  Democrats have a turnout problem (particularly in the midterms), and until we fix it, Democratic politicians will be forced to "tack to the center" to win elections. That is not a recipe for progressive legislation.

          "Because I am a river to my people."

          by lordcopper on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 07:39:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's the conventional wisdom. The alternative (0+ / 0-)

            is leadership and statesmanship - leaders and statesmen bring the people along.  And do so by appealing to their emotions.  It can be as simple as the Golden Rule.  

            The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

            by accumbens on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 10:03:43 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, but is it rational to suggest to a politician (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Bring the Lions

              that he should bet his ability to influence policy over the long term to support a progressive course of action for an electorate that hasn't proven that it will come out and vote?  How many times would you expect that politician to "walk the plank"?  What do you think the other politicians glean from an episode such as this?  What if the district isn't "blue", but "purple"?

              It seems the easiest course of action is for the voters to do their civic duty and vote.  

              "Because I am a river to my people."

              by lordcopper on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 10:21:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Because the politicians don't take a stand, the (0+ / 0-)

                people are not motivated to vote.  They are not enthused because the politicians are bland, mealy mouth cowards.  Can you imagine these people leading anyone into battle?  Puleeze.

                The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

                by accumbens on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 08:33:33 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  That is simply bullshit. I'm sorry, but there is (0+ / 0-)

                  no way that a "lack of leadership" or "political cowardice" is going to cause me to abandon my rights.  I get up enthusiastic every election day, determine to punish or reward as is appropriate.  Sulking and complaining, while not taking the opportunity to exercise the most basic right of a democracy is childish behavior.  Please stop excusing it.

                  "Because I am a river to my people."

                  by lordcopper on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 09:21:14 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Good for you. Too bad not everybody isn't like (0+ / 0-)

                    you.  Then the spineless non-committal Dem politicians could go on doing their no-thing and everybody would vote anyway.

                    But you are not the general population.  Most people need leaders to enthuse them.  The Repubs and Tea Party people have that (not only politicians, but media people as well), which is why they are motivated to vote in primaries and off-year elections.

                    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

                    by accumbens on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 09:54:47 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I think you're misstaing the facts. Tea Party (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Heart of the Rockies

                      types vote because they have a history of voting.  They were once the majority, so voting was the logical way of enforcing their will on society.  Traditionally Democratic constituencies have never developed the habit of voting. They tend to skew younger, female, and minority. These are people who, historically, have been deprived of the opportunity to participate in our democracy.  That fact alone should encourage them to participate and have their voices heard.  If what you say is true, our hopes for a progressive future are lost.

                      "Because I am a river to my people."

                      by lordcopper on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 10:20:32 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

  •  Cantor was a "centrist" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Woody, Heart of the Rockies

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "If we appear to seek the unattainable, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable." (@eState4Column5)

    by annieli on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 04:12:42 PM PDT

  •  Re (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rsmpdx
    As people, corporations get to partake of our inalienable rights codified in the Bill of Rights. They get free speech and much more. Further, the Supreme Court codified that money is a form of speech (Buckley v. Valeo). It isn’t hard to see how all this evolved into giving PACs and corporations virtually unlimited "speech" (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission). It is then easy to understand giving the individual virtually unlimited "speech" (McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission).
    I don't necessarily buy that this is a problem and the Brat/Cantor election illustrates why.

    Cantor outspent Brat by what, multiple times? And lost anyway.

    There's so much cognitive dissonance on this point that people on DKos have seriously suggested that Brat has some kind of secret dark money connection.

    Money might help, but if it was dispositive than Cantor would have won in a landslide. In the end, Cantor didn't pay any attention to his constituency and no amount of money could save him.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 04:18:54 PM PDT

    •  Um, no. (0+ / 0-)
      There's so much cognitive dissonance on this point that people on DKos have seriously suggested that Brat has some kind of secret dark money connection.
      No dissonance at all. There is a connection that was documented byThom Hartman. It did not start here, but many posters on Daily Kos read widely, so they may have reported on the ties.
      •  This was debunked as bullshit (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dfarrah

        Provide evidence that any billionaire provided significant sums of money to Brat's campaign. The fact that he was hired as faculty for his day job using (maybe) Koch money isn't relevant.

        Brat was massively outspent by Cantor in the primary and won the race anyway. Everything else is obfuscation and window dressing. It might not prove my point but it is evidence in favor.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 04:41:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nope (0+ / 0-)

          First, it IS relevant that Koch money allowed this nut to have a day job.  How many on the left could run for Congress if there wasn't a problem in paying the bills as well?

          Second, Brat was massively outspent.....but he had friends in high places, did he not?  Did he not get the attention and support of some key people in the right wing media universe?  

          Imagine a Kossack would run against some centrist Democrat in a blue district.  Outside of Democracy Now and maybe MSNBC, what equivalent is there to the right wing media arm that helps these guys out?

          In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man may be king.

          by Bring the Lions on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 12:40:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  See http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1306721/53690 (0+ / 0-)
    •  Outspent by ~45x I believe. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      scott5js, old possum

      Just goes to show that money CAN'T buy you everything.

      Having said that, the diarist is absolutely right that money goes a long way, and that Citizens United is horribly toxic and needs to go away.

      •  But amending the First Amendment? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PeterHug

        I have not gotten on board with that. I think this recent election shows that the problem is not just money in politics.
        Conservatives (and people even further right) like to believe they are defending the very foundations of civilization. They have a sentry mentality. They have a sense of obligation to vote. I grew up hearing my Republican parents say they voted in every election. They usually did. I do too.
        My precinct convention in 2008 in Houston was jam-packed with people. These people are not to be seen in most years, especially not in off years. The Democratic Party does not have a stable base. Many vote only when motivated. This is a weakness.
        As for the First Amendment I think the best course is to keep it sacrosanct. Suppose it were amended. How could it harm us? What implications could Scalia and others infer?

        Censorship is rogue government.

        by scott5js on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 08:02:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  How he won (12+ / 0-)

    "The man who spoke to the hearts of his base won. The man who worked tirelessly won. The man who walked door to door won."

    This is how its done. Retail politics. The other half of the battle is the GOTV effort. Its not rocket science, but if you don't perform these tasks well you end up like Martha Coakley and Alex Sink. The days of sitting on a lofty perch and expecting the millions spent on tv ads to do the work for you are over.

    Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings. Steal a little and they throw you in jail. Steal a lot and they make you king.... Dylan

    by bywaterbob on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 04:20:06 PM PDT

    •  How he won. (0+ / 0-)

      Democratic geeks working with Votebuilder sold us out, from WaPO:

      I'm a Democrat and how I helped unseat Eric Cantor

      "The war was expensive to the South as well as to the North, both in blood and treasure, but it was worth all it cost."- General U.S. Grant, Chattanooga campaign

      by Sandy on Signal on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 05:02:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just no. Cantor lost because he forgot (6+ / 0-)

        the first rule of politics - everything is local.

        He ignored his constituents in his quest for greater glories, and it came back to bite him in the ass when his voters were presented with an alternative.  Not probably even an entirely attractive alternative, but one who claimed convincingly that he was going to represent them.

        •  so you don't think giving him Votebuilder (0+ / 0-)

          to show the strong Republicans helped him?  Maybe it didn't point out the question of "Do you still have your grandfather's KKK hat in the attic?"  as a question, but it helped.

          Those two who gave him this information - helped him with identifying local right-wing extremists.

          "The war was expensive to the South as well as to the North, both in blood and treasure, but it was worth all it cost."- General U.S. Grant, Chattanooga campaign

          by Sandy on Signal on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 05:21:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have no idea if the help he may have gotten (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ginny in CO

            from Brian Umana made a difference or not.  And I have to say, I really don't care - having Eric Cantor gone is an immense step forward, regardless of who eventually wins that seat.  Cantor's knee-jerk obstructionism and toxic policies have no place in Congress; his position in the leadership gave him far too much influence, and he eventually would have tried to run for national office (hopefully this has been nipped in the bud).

            Trading this for the possibility of a nutso replacement is a small price to pay.

            •  Identifying right-wing extremists matters to Brat (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              basket, DemSign, Heart of the Rockies

              so he can go door knocking in areas that will help him.  You know he didn't bother knocking on doors in poor black areas.  

              Eric Cantor is gone and the district was gerrymandered, so we have a real dilemma here.  There is a good chance Bratt will win, unless all of you here on this thread who are mad at me, start giving and door knocking for Trammel.  This is a crap shoot and it isn't looking good.

              Everybody give right now to Jack Trammell for Congress

              Thank you.  

              Sandy Lusk
              TNDP, East Tennessee Vice-Chairwoman

              "The war was expensive to the South as well as to the North, both in blood and treasure, but it was worth all it cost."- General U.S. Grant, Chattanooga campaign

              by Sandy on Signal on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 05:44:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  There were three possible outcomes (0+ / 0-)

                before the primary:  Cantor, Brat, or Trammell.  Of these, the most toxic by far was Cantor.  This has now been prevented.

                I don't actually personally believe that Brat's victory has anything to do with Democratic crossover votes, or software packages that he may or may not have gotten.  It has everything to do with good old traditional stuff like, Cantor didn't pay attention to his constituents.

                Having said that, now that Cantor is off the table, I think Trammell has a far better chance of winning against Brat than he would have against Cantor.  What precisely is your problem with this?

  •  Cantor got tea-bagged hard, lol... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, annieli, gooderservice

    He kept looking up, cross-eyed, wondering, 'what's that on m'forehead?'

  •  Progressive v Conservative Negotiation (9+ / 0-)

    Conservative = primary from the right. Win or lose.

    Progressive = will vote for the hand picked centrists no matter what (win or lose and in a liberal district or not) and in fact will let the candidates know the Progressive vote is in the bag

    One is a smart way to obtain power and influence

    One is not

    There are many reasons Cantor lost and lessons that you could learn but won't

    Eg tactics aren't right or left , showing up matters, wining takes risking failure

    •  You're talking dangerous talk there. (7+ / 0-)

      The notion of taking principled stands and fighting for them to the bitter end is anathema to the "pragmatists" here who will always take scraps rather than risk losing a battle.  Conservatives instinctively understand that it's disempowering to allow yourself to be pegged as a bunch of spineless scrap-takers who will never draw a line in the sand and make it stick.  Liberals, not so much.   That's why conservatives have power, and liberals don't.   We loyally vote for crappy corporatist centrist Democrats out of fear of not getting anything better.   Of course, if you never demand better, you will never get it.

      •  Hit the nail on the head: (5+ / 0-)
        Conservatives instinctively understand that it's disempowering to allow yourself to be pegged as a bunch of spineless scrap-takers who will never draw a line in the sand and make it stick.  Liberals, not so much.   That's why conservatives have power, and liberals don't.
        Same basic point I make in my signature.

        People who fight for their values sometimes win and sometimes lose. People who don't fight for their values always lose.

        Conservatives, to their credit, understand the concept of power and the fact that people who refuse to try to take power will always have none.

        The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

        by Eric Stetson on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 05:30:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I rarely post here for several reasons (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        radmul, dfarrah, Heart of the Rockies

        One of them is that I'm aware that the site advocates strategies for failure

        Your mistake is allowing them to control the language
        They are not pragmatists . They are failed strategists

        Learn from "Internet fuckery"

        •  Please note I put "pragmatist" in sarcastic (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Heart of the Rockies

          quotation marks.   It's been years since I used the word "pragmatism" without sarcasm and I don't believe the English language would be the poorer if it were expunged from the dictionary.   It's a worthless bit of verbal flotsam that long ago ceased to mean anything.

      •  Say What? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        La Gitane

        It would take a diary to correct your comment, but let's try this-

        Conservatives have those with ACTUAL POWER supporting them.  They support them with power and with money.  Lots of money.  

        It's really quite easy to be uncompromising when you have a network of billionaires on your side.  Run on your Ayn Rand-fever dream platform, we'll support you.  You'll get on our media network.  We'll have PACs support you.  Lose?  You can work for us til you run again.

        And do liberals have EXACTLY the same thing?  I mean, in 35 years of following politics, I missed all the billionaires that were throwing in for more progressive candidates and causes.  I found the all-liberal AM radio station in LA for a few moments, but otherwise nada.  

        Conservatives are fighting FOR the powerful.  They tell themselves these fairy tales about how they're fighting The Man who's liberal and taking away their freedoms, but anyone who is reality-based knows better.

        Liberals are always fighting for the truly powerless.  Surprise!  A bunch of career politicians who live and die on campaign contributions don't fight for people who can't afford the rent or their medicine.  Surprise!  A large mass of working class and underclass voters who COULD punish such politicians regularly are too busy with the chaos of their own lives to pay attention. (That's not a full blown excuse, but note how this electoral base is not feared while the GOP base is)

        Let's point at the right targets as long as we're on the same side.

        In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man may be king.

        by Bring the Lions on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 12:54:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In addition, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bring the Lions

          We don't have hate and fear on our side. Democratic values have broad support as long as it only benefits straight white people. Food stamps for poor white people? Okay. Food stamps for poor blah people...not so much.

          Conservatives live in increasingly more isolated and segregated communities. Their hatred is festering and being co-opted and cultivated.

          Add billions of dollars and boom! You win elections.

          Mediocrity cannot know excellence ~ Sherlock Holmes

          by La Gitane on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 11:19:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Obama had a lot of Wall Street support. n/t (0+ / 0-)
          •  Yes He Did (0+ / 0-)

            The "smart money."  It went with the winner.  (You might also say it gave a green light to centrists out there that this "community organizer" was okay for business)

            That Wall St. money went just to Obama's campaign, asked for and pretty much got what it wanted in the first year of his presidency, and then in a great show of thanks it went out and invested in Republican Congressional campaigns and got itself a House full of right wing nuts.  Some of whom talk about going after big banks and Wall St., but never seem to do anything Wall St. doesn't like.

            Wall St. did not invest in Obama as it has any GOP presidential candidate you name other than McCain.  It conveniently dropped a load of money on him after he had already raised millions from millions of ordinary citizens (like me) and after he got the nomination.  That motherload allows for the talking point that he got "Wall St. money" and not much else.

            In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man may be king.

            by Bring the Lions on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 01:22:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think the WS donations resulted in a number of (0+ / 0-)

              cabinet and other high appointments, as well as failure to investigate and prosecute the banks and insurance companies that were responsible for the financial crisis.  Many of their top employees should have gone to jail.  Instead, Goldman Sachs is back stronger than ever.

              Remember Warren's questions in the committee hearings?  No prosecutions, just settlements that were even less than a wrist slap and hid all the nasty details.

      •  We vote for the least abominable of our (0+ / 0-)

        choices then wonder why people are unenthusiastic and don't turn out. The first time Obama won, there was fire in our belly.  Things were going to be different. Even a gray parrot could shout out "OBAMA.  OBAMA. YES WE CAN.  YES WE CAN"

    •  I Suppose The Fact (0+ / 0-)

      ...that there are billionaires supporting the "uncompromising" mavericks on the right, and supporting the "centrists" on the "left", make no difference in all this, right?

      Really now.

      In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man may be king.

      by Bring the Lions on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 12:44:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One of the least covered (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TDDVandy, JeffW, Heart of the Rockies

    things about Tuesday's returns was the fact that Brat did the old-fashioned thing while conservative radio railed against Cantor. I think it would be easy to look at the model used by Brat (read Thomas Frank's "What's the Matter With Kansas for references to methods used in organizing in Frank's home town) connecting with his base and assume we can do the same. What has happened with the republican party has been at least 50 years in the making. We don't have that luxury of time. The endless nattering ninnies on the right's media will be long dead before we turn this thing around I fear. I want someone to prove me wrong!

    "He that will not reason is a bigot; he that cannot reason is a fool; he that dares not reason is a slave." — William Drummond of Hawthornedenne (13 December 1585 – 4 December 1649), Scottish poet.

    by zamrzla on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 04:30:50 PM PDT

  •  Who would have ever guessed that being entitled (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PeterHug

    wasn't enough?  Villagers are . . . nonplussed!

    "The opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.”" -- Paul Dirac

    by Rikon Snow on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 04:31:48 PM PDT

  •  1.Fix "Bart" 2. Yes it does matter .... (2+ / 0-)

    1. Please correct "Libertarian-thinking tea party candidate David Bart beat the most powerful Republican in Congress, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor." - just for the professional look.
    2. Yes it does matter that Cantor lost, since now immigration reform is probably on ice and that will shift more votes away from Republicans. I presume it (sigh of relief) reduces their chances of taking over the Senate, and will hurt them in 2016 all else being equal.

  •  Very good diary. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PeterHug, congenitalefty

    I would add that arguing about money in politics is a bit like arguing about global warming; i.e., look he didn't spend much money but still won, proves money doesn't affect politics, right? Wrong.

    Cantor blew it plain and simple. Now he can go write drivel for the Koch bros. in one of their "think tanks" that name cries irony.

    A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

    by onionjim on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 04:44:38 PM PDT

  •  They didn't care about the pork (0+ / 0-)

    Congressional leaders get re-elected until they die because voters know seniority brings home the bacon. These primary voters didn't care. If Cantor had an honest pollster and knew he was in danger and said so, he probably could have got his supporters to turn out and win.

  •  BTW, money was spent *for* Brat ... (7+ / 0-)

    not the same as "by his campaign." Blabberhacks like Ingraham got money via Kochtopus to badmouth Cantor. It may not have been as direct, but Cantor was still heavily Koch-blocked.

  •  Good diary. The biggest lesson is populism (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PeterHug, a2nite, delver, gulfgal98

    is popular among the American people. Both left and right.

    Democratic politicians need to understand this and stop being so "establishment" in their image and policies. The American people are sick of entrenched politicians who serve big corporate lobbyists. They want real change.

    The kind of populism that Brat represents is somewhat of a phony populism, so if Democrats offer the real deal, they can win big.

    The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

    by Eric Stetson on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 04:52:50 PM PDT

    •  This is just not true. There are plenty (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sandy on Signal

      of "Democrats" in different parts of the country who aren't receptive to "progressive" policies. Period. They have not moved left.  They may have relaxed on certain social issues but that's about it.

      The American people are sick of entrenched politicians who serve big corporate lobbyists. They want real change.
      Define "real change"?  Who's asking for it?  How do they want that change to come about?   I don't think that the vast majority of Americans even care about big corporate lobbyists.  You're  talking into a echo chamber because you and the rest here want these things.  Fine. But that's not necessarily shared around the country as a whole. Many in this country either don't really know what they want or how it can be achieved.
      •  So most Dems are moderate libertarians? (0+ / 0-)

        Because that's what your description means:

        They have not moved left.  They may have relaxed on certain social issues but that's about it.
        If you're liberal on social issues and "pro-business"/anti-big-government on economic issues, then you are a libertarian. That's the definition of the term libertarian.

        I don't think that's what most Democrats believe.

        The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

        by Eric Stetson on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 05:25:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think there are low info/one issue type voter... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bring the Lions

          I think there are low info/one issue type voters all over the place and on both sides. Most voters vote one way or another for whatever bothers them the most at that particular time....if they vote at all. (Remember that most Americans don't even care enough to vote at all)

          Most voters are not political junkies and do not research everything like we do. I see it constantly in my classes as we discuss various current issues. Bring up abortion and half the class is pro or against and then ask which party supports choice. You might get 25 percent of the class who knows correctly. Then you will get another 10 percent or so who will vehemently deny that the correct answer is correct at all or act shocked when they find out they thought it was the other guys and had been supporting the wrong ones. Now multiply that times any number of voter issues and you see the problem.

          Don't even get me started on the number of college freshmen who couldn't name more than three members of our Congress to save their lives or even know 3 major differences between the Republican or Democratic Parties.

          •  That's pretty disturbing. n/t (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bailey2001

            The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

            by Eric Stetson on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 07:19:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Indeed. I wanna cry each time it become evident (0+ / 0-)

              in discussions.  What is even more sad is those who are 18, 19 or 20 years old and know nothing at all about politics but have a voter registration card in their possession will very often vote in the manner that their parents do, or call them for advise first.  That is scary considering mom and dad are likely in their mid 40's to 50's and middle/upper class.  

      •  I have to call this one out: (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eric Stetson, dfarrah, gulfgal98
        I don't think that the vast majority of Americans even care about big corporate lobbyists.
        And I think you are wrong.

        Even at the local level, we are WELL aware here (in a red CA county) what harm lobbyists do. People just don't like lobbyists. They may not understand exactly how it's done, but most people have a strong hunch there's often a quid pro quo involved for themselves, and they HATE that.

        I agree Americans, in general, are largely disconnected sometimes, but I don't agree they are generally stupid in total. They perceive lobbyists as being bad. They are right.

        The only hawk I like is the kind that has feathers. My birding blog: http://thisskysings.wordpress.com/

        by cany on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 06:28:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I think, though (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Aquarius40, cany

    that even if corporate money doesn't necessarily alter the outcome of elections, it has a great effect on how politicians behave once they're in office.

    Fear of Koch brothers money leads to Democrats pushing for Keystone XL because they don't want the Kochs blowing money to try to get them out of office.  (It doesn't work, because the Kochs are going to try to get them out of office either way, but still...)

    30, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 04:53:34 PM PDT

    •  Exactly. Here, I can tell you for a FACT that (0+ / 0-)

      if you cross certain GOP bigwigs who are VERY wealthy, they will, in fact, pay to see you outsed. Legally, but nonetheless, they WILL do it.

      For years, The Irvine Company in Orange County got what they wanted because there wasn't a GOPer around that could hold their water when Bren was around. They were scared shitless of him, and still are.

      He is a man at the head of a company that could make or break a political career.

      Absolutely money matters. You cannot fight a guy like this in a red county without a ton of money and a team of street fighters.

      The only hawk I like is the kind that has feathers. My birding blog: http://thisskysings.wordpress.com/

      by cany on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 06:31:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  more than policy or positions which are (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PeterHug

    conflicting and confusing, knocking on doors and making a personal connection.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 05:03:56 PM PDT

  •  That district is pretty safe R. That's a detail (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sylv

    to keep an eye one when considering a similar move on out side.

    While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 05:15:07 PM PDT

    •  We've got plenty of safe D seats (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi

      held by someone awful Representative Lipinski, Representative Swallwell, Governor Cuomo, and so on.

      "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - George W Bush

      by jfern on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 06:04:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't you mean "our"? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PeterHug
    Eric Cantor loss to David Brat can teach progressive activists and their candidates a lesson

    Dallasdoc: "Snowden is the natural successor to Osama bin Laden as the most consequential person in the world, as his actions have the potential to undo those taken in response to Osama."

    by gooderservice on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 05:15:51 PM PDT

  •  Another important lesson (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Stetson, a2nite

    Good diary. It partly echoes one of the best analyses of Brat-Cantor that I've read, at http://www.salon.com/...

    Which makes the point that the Tea Party has successfully driven the GOP because they're engaged, they participate in primaries, and they challenge in primaries.

  •  The speaker Mr. Orange is the most (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ginny in CO

    powerful republican

    Libertarian-thinking tea party candidate David Bart beat the most powerful Republican in Congress, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
  •  The Tea Party is successful ... (0+ / 0-)

    ... because it's adherents are immune to reality. They live in a bubble, and the only voices they hear are those of Faux News, Limbaugh, Ingraham, Malkin, Hannity, Breitbart.com, Alex Jones, etc., etc., etc. They cannot be swayed from their beliefs by objective fact, even if it comes from Republicans, because they are programmed to believe anything running counter to their view of the world is a conspiracy against them.

    Brat got immense support from several right-wing talkers. Yes, Cantor was lousy at retail politics, and that was certainly a factor in his loss — he had very few enthusiastic supporters. But the right wing noise machine backed Brat, and there's no doubt in my mind that helped immensely.

    So is there a lesson in Brat's win for progressives? Simply put, no. We don't have the same closed fantasy loop the far right has, and we never will. We have to live in the real world.

    Besides, many progressives trying to divine some lesson from Brat's win (or worse, believing he's someone the left can work with because he's espoused some anti-Wall Street views) are missing one very important fact: He hasn't won yet. He has another election to face, and while it's his to lose, he believes some pretty crazy stuff, and he's not shy about expressing it. His extremism makes him vulnerable, even in a heavily R district.

    Cantor had a 95% rating from the Conservative Union. Apparently, for the right-wing noise machine, only 125% will now be good enough. But they do not represent, or speak for, all Republicans.

    If Brat wins the election, it will be a Pyrrhic victory. There is nothing he can accomplish that Cantor couldn't have accomplished (he will not, for example, be the one vote the Tea Party faction in the House needs to repeal Obamacare). There is nothing he can obstruct that Cantor couldn't have obstructed. The balance of power in Congress will not change.

    But if the Democrat wins ...

    In order to move America back to the left, we first need to keep the White House, keep the Senate and, most importantly, win back the House — in 2014 if possible, in 2016 absolutely. Picking up Cantor's seat would be a really good start. Instead of trying to figure out what we can learn from Brat's win, maybe we should be figuring out how to exploit his extremism to pick off enough not-batshit crazy Republicans and GOTV enough independents and Democrats in VA-7 to make sure he doesn't win the race that counts.

    I vote we run Rick Scott out of Florida on a high-speed rail.

    by ObamOcala on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 08:20:02 PM PDT

  •  Wasn't Brat's college post paid for by the Koch's (0+ / 0-)

    for $500,000, I read.  So that Brat would preach Ayn Rand as economics.  

  •  Lesson: Bump off a big fish (0+ / 0-)

    And let his demise serve as a lesson to the rest. Cantor's loss won't directly change the balance of power in the house but it'll have all the rest of the GOPers thinking scared. That's the real value of bumping of a blue dog in a primary— even if it means losing a seat. We're not going to end up with a true liberal in some places but it's important that those holding the seat rejoice they can't put a D after their name and then stab is on the back with impunity.


    My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.—Carl Schurz
    "Shared sacrifice!" said the spider to the fly.—Me

    by KingBolete on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 08:54:29 PM PDT

  •  One More Time (0+ / 0-)

    The right plays by a different set of rules.

    David Brat, and those like him, can be uncompromising in their wacko beliefs because there are billionaires who can and will support them. If not directly, then through a friendly media network, or with a multitude of PACs and political professionals.  Even think tanks and media-ready shills to carry water for them.

    Those on the real left don't get that.  Not only do they not get it, but they can count on being carpet-bombed by right wing money against them.  And not only do they take it on from the other side, but much of the same money goes to the top of the Democratic party.  In other words, you'll see and hear "Democratic leaders" question if Too Liberal Candidate (fill in the blank) is "out of touch" with the mainstream and really "what the party needs."

    We simply can't play the same way as the far right Tea Partiers.  At least, not until we have just as many billionaires throwing millions into the political system and our own media network that's just as large as the right wing one.

    In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man may be king.

    by Bring the Lions on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 12:28:40 AM PDT

  •  Missing the point (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sandy on Signal

    The whole idea of a Tea Party wing of the GOP was to draw frustrated people into an "anti-politics" mode that requires no articulation of the issues. Like antimatter, "anti-politics" can't last long in this universe, it's too unstable. Since politics about deciding who gets what, every political movement has to be able to say why it should get what it wants and justify it when the time comes. "Because...freedom" just don't cut it.

    It is not easy to see what you are not looking for, or to know what it is you do not know.

    by kosta on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 03:04:32 AM PDT

  •  Citizen's United (0+ / 0-)

    Cornerstone of the Fascist state.

  •  Consumerism and Dystopia As someone who has wor... (0+ / 0-)

    Consumerism and Dystopia

    As someone who has worked local progressive politics in various places and gone extra miles to see what is going on at the precinct level for several decades, I think progressives across the US suffer from a variety of deeply psychological heart-level issues.

    We are deeply pessimistic, perfectionistic and judgmental when it comes to supporting Democrats. We might just not vote if we feel less than complete enthusiasm.

    Republicans seem to be much more eager to beat Democrats and much less perfectionistic.

    There is a reason for the term, "Liberal Firing Squad" being a circle firing inward.

    Then there is the disengagement of retired baby boomers who are well off and who might contribute more locally.

    Suburbanites have fallen prey to the media inspired euphoria of consumerism. They are more concerned with maintaing their flower gardens and yards than engaging with others in the community on issues that matter. Dismissing it all as something to shrug one's shoulders over has become fashionable.

    Perhaps My G-Generation never was unified in wanting to change the world.

    George Bush was a baby boomer.

    I find it harder than it used to be. When I look at a local Democratic club that has a membership with almost no one under 60 and which is largely a shelter from the world rather than an activist effort to move it, I tend to think of disengagement.

    Folks who are under 40 are too busy to just sit in meetings with people who are not interested in action. So they stay away.

    In many suburban areas there effectively is no Democratic Party where there could be one that takes advantage of experience and skill as well as youthful energy.

    People like to talk back to their TVs but this is consumerism, not citizenship. It is hard to persuade people to see this.

    People like their comforts and their excuses.

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