People in Washington don’t like to admit that they were wrong. No one saw Eric Cantor’s primary loss coming, least of all David Brat, the economics professor who, on a shoestring budget, pulled off one of the biggest upsets in congressional history.
Understandably, everyone wants to know how, in retrospect, something so unlikely could have happened. These things don’t happen without a reason. However unlikely the outcome, there were causes—causes that nobody saw. But they were there right in front of our eyes. Cantor, the second-most powerful member of the House of Representatives—the young man patiently waiting to become the first ever Jewish Speaker of the House—was a victim of his own success. The conservative grassroots have, in the past two election cycles, been determined to antagonize anything even resembling “establishment” Republicans. Nothing is more establishment than serving in leadership.
Cantor had always been the compromise candidate—the one who didn’t fit any particular profile or stereotype. He was Southern, spoke with a twang, but he was a practicing Jew. He was principled and conservative but determined to sell the Republican brand to those who were neither. He could speak the language of the talk radio conservative base and, as a second language, could speak the language of the bleeding hearts, the hyper-sympathetic caucus on the other side of the aisle.
This last ability, this second language of his, proved to be his undoing. Cantor’s willingness to support even the most abstract immigration reform principles won him no good will from Democrats and outright hostility from his own base.
This is a case study in the folly of trying to beat Democrats by imitating them. Not only was Cantor felled by his own axe, but it was in regard to an issue that Republicans ought to speak about boldly. The 11 million or so illegal immigrants in this country are the clearest indication of American exceptionalism that you can find. These people are fleeing totalitarian, socialist, leftist countries and seeking the welcoming United States. We are the only country on earth that won’t turn them away.
President Barack Obama’s phony “prosecutorial discretion” policy—which is to say, not prosecutorial discretion but policy—is encouraging these poor, indigent people to send their children alone to the United States, knowing that we will give them the better life that they desire rather than enforce our own laws.
If anything is wrong, it is surely not that the United States would like a secure border, but that these regimes to our South are unjust, cruel and hurting innocent people. Free markets oppress no one. Free markets are the opposite of oppression; they are the abnegation of authority. But man oppresses man. Dictators oppress honest, Christian people and exploit the goodwill and charity of the United States. If there is a wrong here, it is not that we are a nation of laws, but that other countries are not.
Leftist politicians in Latin America and in our own country appeal to our emotions, to our instincts, but surely we must be compassionate to the millions of Americans who do not have jobs, the millions who actually pay taxes, the millions who are already overloading our welfare system. Why do we allow the Mexican government, the Guatemalan government and the Honduran government to exploit us? This country should be outraged at our leadership for not securing our borders. Do any of these Democrat politicians leave their doors unlocked at night?
It is not unjust that we have laws; it is unjust that some people think that they are above them. While millions wait in line, earnestly hoping to become Americans, illegal immigrants are literally thieves. The defeat of Cantor is a heavy loss for the prospects of immigration reform in Congress, and the American working class just breathed a sigh of relief.
Armstrong Williams is the author of the brand-new book “Reawakening Virtues.” Read more on RightSideWire.com. Come join the discussion live 4-5 p.m. EST at www.livestream.com/armstrongwilliams or tune in 4-5 p.m. EST on S.C. WGCV, Sirius/XM Power 110, 6-7 p.m. and 5-6 a.m. EST. Become a fan on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.