If Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador pulls off the second stunning upset in as many weeks and defeats California Congressman and current House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy in Thursday's vote to succeed Eric Cantor as the Republican #2 behind House Speaker John Boehner, 10 consequences would flow from that upset that deserve the consideration of every man and woman voting Thursday.
1. Every member of the House GOP would be seen as responsive to their voters, even if they voted for McCarthy and not Labrador. Many of the post-upset write-ups would begin "In a sure sign that House Republicans are anxious to please their most ardent supporters, outsider Raul Labrador upset leadership favorite Kevin McCarthy in a race to succeed Eric Cantor as House Republican Leader, signaling that the majority of House GOPers are very aware that their party's grassroots are in a combative mood heading into the fall elections." Being responsive to the base is a good thing, a very good thing, and the GOP has been tone deaf on this since 2010.
2. Small donor fund raising --and the crucial information trove that comes with it-- would surge as the grassroots would begin to trust that the party was moving to reunify after a series of painful, unnecessary splits over the past 19 months. NRCC Chairman Greg Walden would dance a jig if he was selling Labrador as a fundraising headliner and not McCarthy. (Walden of course cannot say that out loud, but let's be objective about what fills rooms and what doesn't. The Bakersfield Congressman with near-zero national profile, well, that isn't a magic wand. The Puerto Rican-born son of a single mom, well, now there's a story to tell.)
3. The beginning of the end of John Boehner's speakership would be undeniable if Labrador amasses 50 votes much less wins. The Speaker may not be able to turn back a Texas Congressman Jeb Hensarling challenge in the post-election November leadership contests even if McCarthy succeeds, but if the Speaker's all-but-open choice of McCarthy is rebuffed, the gavel is passing as surely as the Majority Leader's office.
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