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Eric Cantor’s Defeat Shows What Voting Can Do

June 15, 2014
Plain English Version


Is politics all about money? Not in Virginia. Eric Cantor, the House Majority leader was heavily favored to win a primary. He lost to an unknown professor, Dave Brat. Cantor spent millions of dollars. The professor did not.

That is why elections are decided when the votes are cast and not in polls or the media. The polls had Mr. Cantor way ahead. People turn out when they are not expected to. They vote in ways that were not predicted.

It makes one wonder why people who care about things do not bother to vote.

But first, what is a primary election? Primary elections select candidates. A general election votes a candidate into office. In many states only voters registered to a party can vote in that party’s primary election.

In other states, such as Virginia, the primary election is open.  That means registered voters can vote in any primary election. In Virginia that meant that Democratic voters could vote in the Republican primary election. Many may have voted for Mr. Brat in order to defeat Mr. Cantor.

Voter turnout among blacks, Hispanics and Asians is very low. Also, young people often skip voting. These groups are among the strongest supporters of issues such as immigration reform. Yet when called upon to do the simple act of voting many do not. They say, “My vote does not count.”

It is much harder to complain about the outcome of an election if you have not voted in it.

All the money spent by Mr. Cantor could not save him when the voters decided they had enough of him.

It did not matter that his opponent, David Brat, is fiercely opposed to immigration reform.

Brat got the votes.

The lesson is clear. Voting is everything.




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