What Cantor’s Loss Means for the GOP

Last August I wrote about five Congressional races to watch out for in the 2014 midterm elections. One race that I did not talk about was Eric Cantor’s. No one expected the sitting House Majority Leader to lose in his primary, including him. Cantor was in Washington rather than back home in his district on Election Day. So what does this mean for the Republican Party as a whole? At a time when everyone was ready to write the obituary for the TEA Party, they knock off the #2 Republican in the House, who was next in line to be the Speaker. Where should the party go from here and who could be the next big name to fall in the general elections this fall?

The second question is the easiest one to answer. The Democratic Party is going to go all in to get Mitch McConnell out from his Senate Minority Leader position. I would not be surprised to see a lot of big names on the left going and campaigning with Alison Lundergan-Grimes. In fact, it has already started. Elizabeth Warren has vowed to go campaign with her after McConnell refused to support her student loan refinancing bill. I would expect several others to join Warren in campaigning against McConnell in Kentucky, in what should be an already tough race for him.

So what should the Republican Party do from here? It is clear that Cantor’s loss is thanks in part to the party still being splintered and having no true leadership.  They have to decide once and for all if they want to continue being pulled further to the right by the TEA Party, and keep winning Congressional races thanks to the gerrymandered districts that they’ve created. There is no question this could work. As long as they pander to the TEA Party, they can keep their big guns in office, like Eric Cantor. There is very little chance that Dave Brat, the TEA Party challenger that knocked Cantor off, will win in the general election against Jack Trammell. Or they can attempt to rid themselves of the TEA Party, move back towards the center, and be competitive in presidential races. It’ll be interesting to see over the next few months which way the party goes. These midterm elections will go a long way in dictating which direction the party goes in 2016.

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