Tom Schantz: Explainable, not seismic
June 17, 2014
While in Steamboat for a softball tournament, I saw the letter from Joe Meglen in which he celebrated the triumph of the Tea Party candidate in the Virginia primary, calling it a "seismic event." Now, as a Democrat, I enjoy seeing Republicans knock each other out, but I can't help but be amused when people call this a shocking or seismic event.
This was not a case of the people rising up in mass and throwing the bum out. It was simply a case of a badly run campaign. Eric Cantor's polls showed him with an overwhelming lead, and his team forgot the cardinal rule of running a campaign: get your people to the polls. It was an extremely small turnout, and Cantor's supporters obviously figured it was an easy win and stayed home. He'd probably clobber Dave Brat in a general election.
Look at other parts of the country where Tea Party candidates went down to defeat. The winning Republicans got their people to the polls, Eric Cantor did not. It is that simple. And that is the only meaning behind Brat's victory.
In a small turnout, angry voters turn out, and they can steal a victory, ensuring the tyranny of the minority. But take heart, Joe, most of the media, eager for a shocking, breaking news story, felt into the same trap.