1) Dave Brat is one of the most genuine, God-fearing, and humble candidates I’ve met this year. He had no interest in doing this for himself; it was all about the cause. He was gracious to Eric Cantor from day one and never engaged in politics of personal destruction.
2) There are obviously numerous disparate factors that play into the final outcome of an election. As Erick noted, Cantor was clearly viewed as out-of-touch with the district and his people were perceived as elitist jerks. But the undisputable issue that coalesced the sense of disquiet into a cogent message was immigration. As Dave Brat said last night on Hannity, this was the central issue where he distinguished himself from Cantor: "It's big. It's the most symbolic issue that captures the differences between myself and Eric Cantor in this race but it also captures that fissure between Main Street and Wall Street."
It wasn’t just in all of his speeches and mailers, it was Cantor’s central issue in the home stretch as well. Ultimately, when voters are presented with a clear choice on issues like immigration and the debt ceiling, they will choose wisely. In this case, Brat spoke beautifully on the issue and it connected with people.
3) To the extent that this race was about anything else besides for immigration, it was about the out of touch leadership of both parties – something borne out most prominently in the immigration debate.
4) Despite the existence of other factors, anyone who believed those phony polls showing 70% of conservatives supporting amnesty is living in a dream world. Cantor’s messaging as well as the messaging of all establishment candidates on immigration this year shows that their polling reflects last night’s results.
5) There’s a limit to how far a candidate can go in misrepresenting their position on a critical issue.
6) Dave Brat was the one candidate for which the establishment could not find good oppo hits to distract from the issues. The only hit Cantor had on him was the accusation that he was a liberal professor. That assertion was so absurd that it likely hurt Cantor. When the race becomes a debate about real issues and not oppo hits or personalities, our side will win.
7) Some reporters are saying “immigration reform” is dead. I disagree. True immigration reform, which is antithetical to what the political class desires, should be pursued with rigor. Open borders immigration reform should be dead, but the political class will try to revive it.
8) This is not just about Cantor. There has never been a base of a political party that hates their leadership as much as the conservative base hates the status quo leaders of the GOP. Playing musical chairs by moving up rabidly pro-open borders leaders Kevin McCarthy and Cathy McMorris-Rodgers to higher positions is not going to cut it. They are even worse than Cantor. Same goes for Pete Sessions. It’s time to document members on their views towards illegal immigration and their support or opposition to an entirely new leadership slate.
9) Some in the media are pointing to Lindsey Graham’s victory as counter-evidence to our narrative. That is absurd on the face of it. Because of the unique circumstance with six challengers and no clear frontrunner, there was no opportunity to coalesce support against Graham. There was no cogent messaging because it was completely drowned out. Yet, 44% of voters still voted against him. More importantly, there was a dismal turnout of 6%. That means a number of people just didn’t bother to vote because they are disenchanted with Graham, but had nobody to support. We are seeing this apathy across the country.
Contrast that to Dave Brat who won with an unprecedented high turnout with nothing else on the ballot. His campaign increased turnout by 17,000 votes. For once, more people felt that there was someone on the ballot that actually stood for something.
10) Watch Dave Brat speak with Sean Hannity and you will see why he connects with people. He is exactly the same person off the air. This is a man who will finally #MakeDCListen and focus on real free markets and constitutional values. Speaking to so many people across the country, the sense of apathy and defeat was so palpable. Honestly, I was beginning to give up hope on our ability to break through the ivory tower and make a difference. One man has given so much hope to millions of Americans who feel we are losing our country, and he deserves all the credit.