All politics is local, according to erstwhile House Speaker Tip O'Neill (D-Mass.), and when it comes to winning elections, that's absolutely true. But sometimes the results from one local election can reverberate across the country, affecting campaigns -- and policies -- many miles away.
That could be the case with the stunning upset that a college economics professor scored over House Majority Leader
It's conceivable that Cantor's membership in the House GOP leadership did him in. Brat certainly tried to paint Cantor as out of touch with his district, a common complaint about veteran lawmakers. But the most likely lesson other Republicans will take from Cantor's defeat is that immigration reform is a no-win proposition.
In other words, the odds of
There's no small amount of irony in Cantor, who was once the
Cantor was hardly the tip of the GOP spear on immigration reform, unlike Florida Sen.
You could argue that he was just trying to find a way to accommodate the various factions in his own caucus, some of which have pressed for a comprehensive bill, others of which are interested only in building a bigger, longer fence along the Mexican border. To his critics, though, the mere fact that Cantor was willing to consider reforms beyond border security was damning enough.
The divisions in the House GOP mirror the split between some national party leaders and many of their members. The former look at the growing population of Latino voters and worry they'll never win another presidency as long as they're seen as the party blocking immigration reform. The latter seethe about the costs imposed by those in the country illegally and don't understand why even more people aren't being deported.
Count on House Republicans to heed the opponents of immigration reform now.