To be perfectly honest, outside of Mickey Kaus's twitter feed, I had not been following House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's primary at all. Until yesterday of course.
But now that I've spent the past three hours watching David Brat talk to churches, Tea Party groups, and talk radio hosts on YouTube, I think it is safe to say this election was about far more than immigration.
Yes, Brat almost always brings up immigration on the trail, but the issue is always presented as part of a much longer Big Business and Big Government vs America narrative. Here he is at the Mechanicsville Tea Party:
What else does Chamber [of Commerce] want? They want amnesty. And what does that mean? That means illegal immigrants coming in are granted citizenship and its in the millions. ... If we bring in illegal immigrants, and there is a skills mismatch right, and then we are going to have to pay benefits, education, welfare, … The Heritage Foundation has numbers on all this I could bore you to death... Who is going to pick up the tab for all those unexpected costs?
Is big business gonna pay for that? No.
So big business gets the cheap labor and the American people pay the tab.
If there is a theme to Brat's campaign it is this, "I’m against Big Business in bed with Big Government." And he has a whole litany of areas where Cantor voted with Big Business and Big Government. Again, from the Mechanicsville Tea Party video:
Does the farm bill help small all american mom and pop farmers? No. All the money goes to big agriculture and food stamps.
He voted for the flood insurance program, the Export-Import bank.
None of these are free market institutions.
If you want to know why the economy isn't growing, that is one reason.
Brat also hits Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for selling subprime mortgages, even calling former Fannie Mae CEO John Johnson's political operation a "mini-mafia." And his favorite line, of which there are some variations, but gets thrown out at almost every stop, is "the crooks on Wall Street didn’t go to jail, they want on Eric’s rolodex.”
If Brat's win on Tuesday means anything, it is that there is a very healthy appetite among Republican Party primary voters for an agenda that improves the everyday lives of average Americans by cutting back on Big Government programs that help Big Business.