In a development that is going to shake the Republican Establishment to its foundations, Republican House majority leader Eric Cantor has been defeated: with a little more than 60 percent of the vote in, David A. Brat, a professor of economics and a trenchant critic of the National Security Agency’s spying on American citizens is clobbering the pro-NSA Cantor with a little less than 60 percent of the vote so far.
Brat started out with $50,000 of his own money to launch what many viewed as a quixotic campaign against a well-funded and well-entrenched opponent. At the starting bell, Cantor had over a million and a half in his campaign war chest.
Brat is an incisive critic of the Surveillance State. On his campaign web site, he went after Cantor for voting for the NDAA and against Rep. Justin Amash’s legislation that would have reined in the NSA. As the Brat campaign put it:
"Dave believes that the Constitution does not need to be compromised for matters of national security. He supports the end of bulk phone and email data collection by the NSA, IRS, or any other branch of government."
Not only that, but Brat went after Cantor for voting for the National Defense and Authorization Act (NDAA) on the grounds that it "authorizes the unconstitutional bulk data collection by the government under the PRISM program." He also savaged Cantor for voting against Rep. Justin Amash’s amendment to the Act, which would have stopped bulk collection dead in its tracks.
Now watch the bipartisan Washington Establishment go into shock and try to attribute their shocking defeat to low turnout. There’s already talk it’s all about the immigration issue, but this underplays – perhaps deliberately – Brat’s explicit identification with libertarianism in this interview with Breitbart.com.
Interestingly, the Breitbart piece cites the Cantor campaign as claiming Brat "supports excluding active duty military personnel from voting in Republican nominations contests," slyly implying he’s insufficiently supportive of the military (and probably one of them peaceniks). That tried-and-true neocon ploy obviously didn’t work.