Eric Cantor lost his primary last night because he was set up by Democrats? Is Jewish? Isn't as attractive as his opponent? Okay, it was probably a combination of hubris and immigration, but let's not let the facts get in the way of a good story. And in the wake of his shocking defeat, there are a few elaborate theories about what happened.
The Cooter Effect (Democrats)
When you're a pollster and your indestructible candidate has over a 30-point lead just weeks ago and then loses, you've probably got some explaining to do.
John McLaughlin is that pollster and here's what he had to say to National Journal about why turnout in Cantor's district skyrocketed by more than 50 percent from 45,000 primary voters to 65,000 in just two years.
Over the weekend Democrats like Ben Jones and liberal media were driving their Democratic voters on the internet into the open primary. Eric got hit from right and left. In our polls two weeks out Eric was stronger with Republicans at 70% of the vote, but running under 50% among non Republicans."
He added, "Untold story is who were the new primary voters? They were probably not Republicans."
It's being called "The Cooter Effect" after Democrat Ben Jones, who played Cooter on Dukes of Hazzard. (Get your minds out of the gutter!)
The (Jewish) Elephant in the Room
What happens when the only Jewish Republican in the ENTIRETY of Congress gets ousted? Well, people naturally remark on it.
We wake up this morning to find Republicans in Congress have lost their only Jew in Eric Cantor and only Canadian in Ted Cruz.— Dave Levinthal (@davelevinthal) June 11, 2014
David Wasserman, a political analyst for the Cook Political Report, attributed some of Cantor's loss to the changing culture in Cantor's recently redrawn, more rural district. Or as he told theTimes: “Part of this plays into his religion. You can’t ignore the elephant in the room.”
This idea is definitely getting some play on the internets. Jewish conservatives are pushing back against that narrative.
The Eye Candy Factor
hearts theories are always the wildest ones. But as we consider that the race for Eric Cantor's seat now consists of two professors from the same college, we're learning more about Cantor's slayer David Brat from the site Rate My Professors.
One specific thing we've learned, thanks to The Wire's Abby Ohlheiser, is that David Brat scored the coveted "glowing chili pepper" in his student reviews from Randolph-Macon College, a designation that denotes the most vital of tools in the pedagogical arsenal: attractiveness.
Here's how Time gushed:
“He’s total eye candy!!” reads one review.
“At least he’s hot!!” goes another.
“Brat changes assignments all the time, but he is so charming, you forget to be mad at him,” says one more.
I, for one, am skeptical of this theory. When has a candidate's good looks ever impacted a political race? Also, judging from the picture above, I think Brat and Cantor look eerily similar. Like in a Dave kind of way.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.