Rich Galen

We've been through this before, but it bears repeating today: Politics = winning. Religion = salvation.

Those are not the same thing.

To the surprise of almost everyone, this year's Theory of the World, cited 173 times each and every day on cable networks, radio talk shows, podcasts, and in the lunch line at the Longworth Cafeteria, was dealt a real blow last night.

The Theory of the World is: This is an virulently anti-incumbent year. People who are long-time denizens of Washington, DC are in real trouble. They will be beaten. They will lose. Their time is over.

After the primary that showed soon-to-be-former Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) the door in Richmond, the Theory of the World took hold: Dave Brat won because Americans hate Washington and everyone who works there.

The thing about Brat's win over Cantor was, until he won, Tea Party groups had studiously ignored him. Only after his stunning victory did they light their torches, hoist their signs, and march victoriously around Capitol Square in Richmond claiming credit.

Last night two denizens, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), with a combined denization of about 85 years, confounded the experts by winning their respective primary elections.

Rangel is running for his 23rd term in Congress and, as of this writing, has a mathematically insurmountable lead over his opponent, Adriano Espaillat, even with some absentee votes still to be counted.

Rangel's Bronx, New York District has been as safe as any in the nation for an African-American. But, the district is changing and there are a significant number of Hispanics in the mix leading the geniuses in Washington to believe that Espaillat, would win the primary and be the next Congressman.

Rep. Rangel promised this would be his last run and, it seems, was awarded a victory lap by his constituents and will return to the House of Representatives next January.

Sen. Cochran's story is different. He has been in Washington (House and Senate) for 41 years and he lost the primary in Mississippi three weeks ago by a handful of votes to Tea Party darling Chris McDaniel.

But, McDaniel ended up just shy of the 50-percent-plus-one threshold to avoid a runoff and so the two squared off again yesterday.

The Theorists of the World gave Sen. Cochran between no chance and zero chance (although, because of the World Cup, some gave him nil chance) to hold onto his seat.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at