Conservative Jewish republicans lament Eric Cantor’s loss

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Eric Cantor at Holocaust Remembrance Day - https://www.flickr.com/photos/congressmanericcantor/
Eric Cantor at Holocaust Remembrance Day - https://www.flickr.com/photos/congressmanericcantor/

DALLAS, June 11, 2014 — In a shocking political upset, Virginia Congressman and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated in his GOP primary. Despite internal polls before the election showing him up by 34 points, he was beaten by 11 points by previously unknown economics professor Dave Brat.

Cantor was the lone Jewish Republican in the House, and his loss was met with sadness by much of the Jewish community not marching in lockstep with the left wing of the Democratic Party. Cantor’s loss had different political actors with various agendas spinning their own narratives.


READ ALSO: A Brat in Virginia: beating the GOP with GOP values


Democratic National Committee Leader Debbie Wasserman-Schultz quickly offered the predictable gibberish about right-wing Tea Party extremism. While Professor Brat holds views that fit in comfortably within the Tea Party movement, most Tea Party organizations gave him zero financial support, instead targeting Kentucky Senator and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, but Cantor was never at the top of their hit list.


Another narrative being offered is that Cantor was soft on illegal immigration. Brat did hammer Cantor on the issue, despite Cantor’s record of voting against most amnesty. A deeper analysis shows that illegal immigration was the final straw but not the real reason Cantor lost.

A very insightful analysis by Eric Erickson of Redstate offered up a very plausible theory. Cantor lost touch with his constituents by focusing more on his duties as Majority Leader than as the Virginia Seventh District Congressman.


READ ALSO: Eric Cantor’s election defeat: Wall Street loses a good right arm


The late House Speaker Tip O’Neill’s maxim about all politics being local still rings true. Cantor had a chance of becoming House Speaker, however he may have neglected local matters.

As for the Tea Party, liberals who despise the movement, and the people within, will say it is either an out-of-control beast or a movement that is completely dead but cannot come up with a consistent reason why.

While Cantor did lose and Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran is fighting for his political life, Graham survived and McConnell won his primary easily.

While most people would consider it wrong to vote for or against a candidate based on their race, gender or religion, Cantor mattered to the Republican Jewish community because out of 33 Jewish Members of the U.S. Congress, he was the sole Republican. Brian Sanders (VT) is an Independent.

Having him in a position of leadership was a source of pride for the overlooked politically conservative Jewish community.

Jewish Republicans Elan Carr and Adam King are running in neighboring California Congressional districts, but those districts are far more liberal than Cantor’s. The same is true for Lee Zeldin and Joe Kaufman, Republican Jews trying to win House seats in Long Island, New York and South Florida, respectively.


READ ALSO: GOP lessons to learn: Why Dave Brat beat Eric Cantor


Cantor was relatively safe from liberal challengers. He lost for not being conservative enough. This was a surprising turn of events given that Cantor along with Wisconsin Congressman and 2012 Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan and Indiana Governor (and former Congressman) Mike Pence comprised the “Young Guns” moving the GOP to the right.

It is very important to note that while Cantor’s religion is an issue for Republican Jews around the country who believed in him, it was thankfully not an issue in his election loss. His district is mostly Christian, but the same voters who backed him for over a decade grew tired of him for reasons having absolutely nothing to do with religion.

Ironically, it was another proud politically conservative Jew who helped bring Cantor down. Radio host Mark Levin was one of the only prominent conservatives to turn away from Cantor and back Brat.

Levin follows his principles, and religious sentimentality did not interfere with his desire for a more conservative Congress.

If Brat loses in the general election, Cantor could run for the seat again in 2016. However, a Brat victory could provide an even better scenario. In that case, Brat gets to help shape conservative legislation nationally while Cantor runs his entire state.

Cantor’s district is more conservative than the state at large. Cantor immediately becomes a credible candidate to become the next Virginia Governor in 2017.


READ ALSO: Upstart Brat gallops past Cantor


While many people may wonder why Cantor’s religion matters, the answer is because Republican Jews have always been on the outside looking in. They are Jews in a Christian nation, and Republicans in a religious community that is overwhelmingly liberal Democrat. With former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman losing, the late Senator Arlen Specter abandoning the GOP, and now Cantor being defeated, an entire constituency has nobody to advocate for them in Congress.

So while some Tea Party conservatives and most liberal Democrats are celebrating, the Jewish Republican community suffered as crushing an election night defeat as Cantor himself did.

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  • Jersey McJones

    I thought of you when I heard about this. Cantor is very conservative, maybe a little too conservative to be governor. Not only did Jewish republicans lose a leader, but the GOP lost a powerful pol. This is only good news for Democrats, whether the Tea Party folks know it or not.

    JMJ

    • milootoole

      wrong!!!

    • Mary

      He was for amnesty. He’s gone good!

    • blacktygrrrr

      Jersey I agree with you that his loss is bad for the GOP, but I do not think he is too conservative to be Governor of Virginia. After all, the GOP barely lost with the most far right ticket in VA in some time against a very moderate Democrat in McCauliffe. Cantor is no way near as conservative as Cuccinelli or EW Jackson.

      I think Cantor can win, although a lot of it will depend on the 2016 White House race. VA likes to go the opposite way of presidential elections.

      By the way, Week 1: Raiders at Jets! It’s on!

      eric 🙂 @ the Tygrrrr Express

  • Conservative Jews should rejoice about Brat’s win, because Cantor is a RINO, a Moderate, who agrees with Obama too often. Calling himself a Conservative was a ruse.

    • martster

      In case my other response didn’t post, I agree with you. Those people described in the article are a disgraceful bunch of RINO lovers, as bad as liberal Democrats. I post online that Cantor should be tarred and feathered, and run out of town. What this article mentions is disgusting and senseless.

    • My intake

      A RINO. You got to be kidding he votes with his party 96% with the GOP. If not a tea party, then a conservative.

      • Tom Hilton

        MEANINGLESS STAT. According to Heritage: House GOP average is 62%. Cantor is 53%. A RINO, but not the worst.

      • And if the GOP is voting for amnesty, raising the debt ceiling, more spending, gun control, etc. (which it is), then 96% with the GOP is a bad thing. Thus, RINO.

    • Mary

      DITTO

  • Steve Canon

    I wonder what the Jewish vote was in Cantor’s primary? That statistic would shed some light on the subject.

    • blacktygrrrr

      Steve this is a fascinating point. However most Jews vote liberal Democrat so I would slice it even further and ask specifically how Republican Jews voted.

      eric @ the Tygrrrr Express

  • For My Liberty

    The ONLY reason McConnell won was because Ky is a CLOSED primary. Those of us that LEFT the GOP and filed Independent when Ovomit won, were NOT ALLOWED to vote in the primaries and McConnell KNEW that he was safe from us!

  • pinaz

    Seems way to simplistic. The Judeo-Christian ethic is largely the same. I bet it had more to do with immigration, plus he is very smart — I never can understand why most Jews are Democrats.

    • blacktygrrrr

      Pinaz, I have written 3 conservative books, and I discuss this topic frequently when I speak all around the country. The younger Jews are not as reflexively liberal as the older ones.

      eric @ the Tygrrrr Express

  • Tom Hilton

    This is truly a dumb article, and even paranoid. According to Heritage, the House GOP conservative average is 62%. Cantor is 53%. MY RINO indicted fraud, Michael Grimm, is 31%!!

  • Claude Dowden

    Cantor’s religion has no bearing. This is an attempt by liberal left wing democrat perverts to try and start an argument within the Republican party and attempt to move Jewish votes to the democraps. The Jewish people are too smart to be influenced by this type of stupid tactic. Cantor got caught up in the DC ” look how much power I have” and failed to listen to the people whose vote put him there in the first place. Hence, he is on the sidelines. He is not the first it has happened to and won’t be the last

  • blacktygrrrr

    Eric Cantor was NOT for Amnesty. He never once voted for it. This lie has got to stop being repeated. He did not support amnesty.

    eric @ the Tygrrrr Express