Once a powerful congressman, thought to be electorally invincible, Republican Eric Cantor found out the hard way that Washington is a town that brings new meaning to the word ‘ruthless.’
Cantor was the first House majority leader to be pushed out of office, via the dreaded Tea Party-backed primary challenge method, which handed economics professor Dave Brat Virginia’s 7th congressional district in 2014.
There is rarely a shortage of excuses when elections yield an upset. In Cantor’s case, the one that stood out was his being branded as too moderate for the radical right-wing fanatics that had hijacked the GOP amid the 2010 Tea Party wave. As it turned out, Cantor’s ousting was a way of confirming that the days of bipartisan governing had officially been declared extinct.
The 54 year-old lawmaker-turned banker, now with no apparent political ambitions, is speaking out about the scam the Republican Party perpetrated on voters over the repeal of Obamacare.
In a recent interview with the Washingtonian, Cantor admitted that he felt partly responsible for the mess Republicans are facing today over healthcare reform. His emergence of conscience apparently stems from playing along with the party’s scheme to use the false promise of getting rid of Obamacare as a propaganda tool on gullible voters, with the end goal being the eventual seizure of control of all three elected branches of government.
Cantor said, “We sort of all got what was going on, that there was this disconnect in terms of communication, because no one wanted to take the time out in the general public to even think about ‘Wait a minute—that can’t happen.’ ” But, he adds, “if you’ve got that anger working for you, you’re gonna let it be.”
It’s a stunning admission from a former member of the party leadership—that the linchpin of GOP electoral strategy for the better part of a decade was a fantasy, a flame continually fanned solely because, when it came to midterm elections, it worked.
What Republicans learned from the repeal Obamacare scam was that it was easier to win elections with anger-induced voters, whether or not their anger was based on a promise they never intended to keep.
As Paul Waldman puts it in the Washington Post,
What’s truly remarkable isn’t that a bunch of cynical politicians thought they could ride their base voters’ anger into control of Congress by lying to them about what they could actually accomplish; it’s that their voters actually believed it…. So instead of looking for a presidential candidate who would treat them like adults, they elected Donald Trump, a man who would pander to their gullibility even more.
The dog that caught the bus is the phrase often tagged to where we are today. As Cantor admits, Republicans never really had a plan to replace Obamacare. Now, the future of their grand scheme hinges on whether their base will punish them at the voting booth because they didn’t fulfill their promise to take away their health insurance, or because they did.
If nothing else, this is the epitome of voting against your own self-interests with life and death consequences.
It’s hard to imagine that the Founding Fathers anticipated such deliberate political fraud on a national scale. But here we are. And former House majority leader Eric Cantor is no longer afraid to admit it.
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