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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

Five Political Lessons From Tuesday's Earthquake

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Posted at RightWisconsin.


While the political world is still reeling from the defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, it's a good moment to look at some of the lessons for the rest of the political class, including those from around here:
 
Pay attention to Main Street.
 
While most of the attention has been focused on the issue of immigration, Cantor’s cozy ties with Wall Street, K-Street, and Big Business were a major theme in the campaign.   After his victory, Dave Brat went out of his way to say that it was time to spend more time listening to Main Street than to Wall Street. – and that was a direct shot at Cantor’s close ties with the corporate wing of the party. As the Wall Street Journal noted:
 
Since he was first elected to Congress, Mr. Cantor, a Virginia Republican, has been Wall Street’s go-to guy on issues big and small. His first committee assignment was on Financial Services Committee where he became steeped in policy matters that affected the industry.
 
His wife once worked for Goldman Sachs Group Inc, he was a top recipient of Wall Street donations and he regularly stood up for the banks, securities firms and insurance companies.
 
Noted Bill Kristol:
 
As one politician told me tonight, "Fairly or unfairly, voters in VA-7 thought Eric Cantor represented K Street and Wall Street, not them."  
 
There is, unfortunately a lot of this going around and it is a symptom of the Washington-itis that afflicts members of both parties. But it is especially galling to free market conservatives who have watched as pro-business legislators have embraced various forms of crony capitalism and special interest corporate mooching. 
 
Ironically enough, the Obama Administration has perfected the art of such cronyism, but the issue poses  a larger challenge to the GOP in general: To the extent it is seen as the agents of the rich, powerful, and well-connected, it will continue to lose elections. 
 
Tuesday’s election, then, was a much-needed populist wake-up call.
 
Pay attention to the folks back home.
 
On the same night that Cantor went down to stunning defeat,  South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham  -- a perennial target of the RINO-hunters -- scored an impressive landslide win.  The reason? While Cantor apparently became disengaged with the folks back home, Graham stayed in touch with the voters who sent him to D.C. in the first place....

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