The third lesson of Cantor’s defeat is that campaigning against “the entire crony corporate lobby” wins votes, and maybe not just in Republican primaries.
Cantor, like his predecessor Tom DeLay, has raised lots of money from K Street lobbyists. He infuriated some conservatives when he blocked a floor vote on flood insurance (which subsidizes affluent Florida and other coastal dwellers) and he has pushed for reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank (which aids Boeing and Caterpillar).
There’s a strong case, made persistently by my Washington Examiner colleague Timothy P. Carney, that crony capitalism violates the principles of both free-market conservatives and redistributionist liberals, as well as the principles of democratic fairness.
David Brat’s victory shows the strength of the case against crony capitalism — and gives Republicans an early lead on a theme which could be profitably raised by either party.