One take on Eric Cantor's surprise defeat last night is that supporting amnesty will get you booted out of office, meaning immigration reform is now totally, completely, irrevocably six-feet-under dead. But if immigration reform is dead now (assuming it hasn't already been dead for a while) it's because everyone keeps saying it is.
"Here's the message from Virginia: You either stand with Americans or you stand with the invaders," tweeted Fox News' Todd Starnes. The thing is, Cantor was, at best, a wishy-washy supporter of small reforms, whereas, for example, Sen. Lindsey Graham supported larger, broader pieces of reform and managed to breeze through his primary Tuesday night. Cantor's problem was that he too perfectly fit the Washington insider image: he spent almost as much money on steakhouses as his opponent, David Brat, spent in total, and he didn't spend enough time connecting to his constituents.
Polls show voters want immigration reform
Rep. Renee Ellmers and Sen. Lindsey Graham both supported immigration reform more aggressively than Cantor, but sailed through their primaries. As The Wall Street Journal writes, the difference is that Graham and Ellmers defended their support for immigration and Cantor tried to play both sides by coming out against "amnesty." As Politico noted, Cantor supported piecemeal reforms "such as border security and legal status for young undocumented immigrants."