Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tea Party Zindabad

We are not ideological enough to be termed left-liberals but we are compassionate enough to start feeling sorry for the coconut people. They are getting thrashed everywhere  in the polls and how. In each case the victories (defeats) have been correctly described as historical.

It's a historic defeat. Not since the 2004 defeat of Tom Daschle has a party's congressional majority leader lost an election; I'm still struggling to find a case where a majority leader lost a primary. 

In India the LLs fought hard against a chai-wallah's son. They wrote passionate letters to the Guardian. They formed voter advisory groups who pointed out how best to carry out tactical voting against the BJP. Their campaign was so effective that even a business-focused mag like the Economist urged Indians to vote against Modi. They still lost.

In UK/Europe the LLs went up against the UKIP and other far-right forces. The only defeat that they could claim was that of mad-man Geert Wilders of Holland (who in effect promised that Moroccans will be kicked out of the country). And in Greece the anti-austerity left won as the people are facing extreme hardship (by western civ standards). Everywhere else, the liberal-left was badly crushed.

Now in breaking news from the land of the free, we have a grand Tea Party upset- Eric Cantor, the Republican Leader (#2) in Congress, dethroned by a college professor!!! What must really hurt is the fact that Profs are overwhelmingly left-lib, however David Brat is an econ prof.

Eric Cantor is clearly no darling of  the left. But of late, the LLs have been quite optimistic about the demise of the Tea Party and a swing back to the middle (from the devastation of 2010). Indeed, there were tell-tale signs that Cantor would help out in the legalization of (Hispanic) migrants. The LLs just did not imagine a Tea Party victory of this magnitude (just as everyone failed to anticipate an outright BJP majority). Now no Republican would dare move forward (left-ward) on the Dream Act.

How will Arundhati Roy (as the leading thinker in the world) respond to this global Tea Party take-over? The familiar angle to explore is how minorities will suffer- in India there are already communal incidents flaring up from Haryana to Maharashtra. In Europe the fire will be directed against muslims as well. And in the home of the brave it will be Hispanics that will face the mood music. But all past battles have been waged and lost on this ground and we are not sure of the efficacy of her high-voltage campaigns (and silver tongue) going forward.

If General #1 is no good, will the Left-Libs be able to find other strong (and smart) voices to guide them in these dark days? Our opinion is that they enlist the services of  Dr Omar Ali of Brown Pundits. We are sure that they will not be unhappy with results.
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There's not too much happening tonight -- oh, apart from two fun races that will be analyzed and over-analyzed and then analyzed some more for signs of Tea Party fever.


UPDATE: If I were a prouder man, I'd delete my first line about how much was happening tonight. Obviously, quite a lot is happening: Eric Cantor, who was all-but-assured to become Speaker of the House when the gavel grew too heavy for John Boehner, has lost his primary. He has lost it resoundingly, losing by huge margins in rural parts of the district, losing even in population centers like Henrico County (the Richmond suburbs).


It's a historic defeat. Not since the 2004 defeat of Tom Daschle has a party's congressional majority leader lost an election; I'm still struggling to find a case where a majority leader lost a primary. And while I covered David Brat's race against Cantor a few times, I joined the vast majority of journalists in assuming Cantor would take this. After all: He seemed to spot the voter unrest early on, and he spent nearly $1 milllion in the final weeks, while Brat struggled to spend six figures.

How did this happen?


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Immigration reform. Yes: Eric Cantor managed to be sunk by immigration reform without even bringing a bill to the floor. Like John Boehner, Cantor reached out to pro-reform groups and was seen by the GOP base as open to some eventual bill. This riled activists and opinion leaders like the radio hosts Mark Levin and Laura Ingraham. "Eric Cantor is an ally in the biggest fight that will occur in the next six months in Washington," Ingraham said at a weekend rally for David Brat, "and that is the fight over immigration amnesty."

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Link: http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2014/06/10/the_official_live_thread_of_the_south_carolina_and_virginia_primaries.html

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regards