The mainstream media is claiming no one could have foreseen Dave Brat's stunning defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Tuesday's Virginia 7th Congressional District GOP primary, but one man did, and detailed it all in a blog post one day earlier.
"Perhaps not since the Chicago Daily Tribune’s infamous 'Dewey Defeats Truman' headline has the political press been so badly blindsided by an election result," Paul Fahri wrote Wednesday in a nuanced mea culpa in The Washington Post.
As Fahri's "political press" was missing the story, a veteran Virginia conservative activist was writing a startlingly accurate description of just why Cantor was in trouble and just how good the chances were that he could lose.
Tom White, editor of the Virginia Right! blog, is a longtime conservative activist who proudly boasts that he has lived in that state's Hanover County since 1983.
In an eerily precise post on the site
Monday night titled "Predicting Tomorrow's Dave Brat/Eric Cantor Primary Race," White mentioned the difficulty in forecasting primary elections before getting right to his point: Cantor's seat was in danger.
"This race is not easy to predict by polls. We know it is not a landslide for either side. But I promise you, Eric Cantor is nervous and has every reason to be. And Dave Brat should be cautiously optimistic — and has every reason for the optimism," White wrote.
He then called the very outcome that in the end spelled doom for Cantor.
"I can say with 100% certainty that the people who turned out in 2012 and voted for Eric Cantor will not be doing so in 2014," White wrote.
White listed several reasons for Cantor's lack of appeal to 7th District voters.
"A majority of Dave Brat’s supporters voted for Eric Cantor in 2012. And there are quite a few Cantor supporters that are unhappy with Cantor’s stance on Amnesty, his failure to take away funding from Obamacare and Cantor’s lack of participation in the community. Many of Cantor’s supporters are angered and embarrassed by Cantor’s use of "slating" to disenfranchise Republican voters. And many of them feel Cantor does not deserve their vote. So they will stay home."
"Slating is the process of taking away the votes of a large number of delegates and giving them to a handful of hand-picked individuals," White explained to watchdog.org
in May. "In the Virginia Beach [convention] case, more than 1,000 delegates had their votes stripped away and given to 34 people handpicked by the Cantor team."
The move, which was overturned on appeal, increased antipathy for Cantor among grassroots Republicans.
"I think it is a safe bet that the 37,000 votes Cantor received in 2012 will be far more than he will receive tomorrow," White concluded in his prediction post.
Cantor ended up garnering 28,902 votes, almost 8,500 less than in 2012. As his opponent Brat accrued 36,120 votes, those lost voters were indeed the difference in the election.
An elated White posted a photo
on his site Wednesday of a Cantor pollster working at a Hanover County precinct on Election Day. Only he wasn't working. He was fast asleep.
"I expect Cantor and his supporters will have a lot of time to rest now," White quipped.
"And by the way, this young man was a paid Cantor worker brought in from Northern Virginia — and does not live in Virginia," White asserted.
Also asleep Tuesday, of course, was that mainstream "political press."
Fahri in his Washington Post piece acknowledged as much, yet came to the defense of his publication.
"Among the few mainstream reporters who wrote stories during the campaign about Cantor’s clashes with the tea party were Politico’s Jake Sherman and The Washington Post’s Jenna Portnoy and Robert Costa. Portnoy is one of two Post reporters based in Richmond."
However, as Slate and several other websites have noted
, the Post embarrassingly ran an article on its website on Election Tuesday with the following as a lead:
"A conservative challenger is expected to fall far short of defeating House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in Tuesday’s congressional primary. Disorganization and poor funding have stymied the campaign of tea party activist David Brat, even as he tapped into conservative resentment toward a party leader who has been courting the Republican right for years."
No direct URL link could be found for the Post article, as all traces of it appear to have disappeared from the Internet.
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