A great deal of time and money is about to be spent trying to prove Mr. Cantor’s primary loss in Virginia’s Seventh district had nothing to do with immigration. Well, the story that dominated every day of the campaign’s last two weeks was the flood of children, sometimes alone, streaming across the southern border. It gave a daily and visual sense of open borders, chaos, the collapse of law. While the U.S. government does nothing. And Eric Cantor is a high officer of one of that government’s branches. His opponent, David Brat, spent those weeks hammering Mr. Cantor on amnesty. His biggest talk-radio supporter, Laura Ingraham, hit again and again on the same subject. So, you know, immigration might have had something to do with the outcome. It was the real and present issue, the galvanic and immediate one.
But no, it wasn’t the only one. A loss this decisive would have many causes.
Yet on immigration it must be said that a lot of Republican voters are wary of reform measures for reasons that are not in the least ideological. Their opposition and suspicion has to do with common-sense questions. At a time of high chronic unemployment, in what way is it helpful to summon into the labor force a flood of new, low-wage workers? Doesn’t any nation have a sovereign right to control its borders? Can it continue as a nation if it doesn’t?