Holy cow. Eric Cantor has lost his primary race to tea party challenger David Brat.
So: does this mean that the tea party is alive and well? Or does it mean that the tea party has simply taken over the Republican Party and is no longer really a separate force? Regular readers know I vote for the latter. As I said a few weeks ago, “There may still be establishment types and Ted Cruz types in the GOP, but the Republican Party as a whole has adopted the tea party line lock, stock, and extremely smoking barrel. It’s been as total a victory as you’re ever likely to see in the real world.”
I think tonight is further evidence of this. Brat wasn’t an insurgent challenger so much as he was simply a mainstream Republican positioned a little bit to Cantor’s right. That’s where the mainstream of American conservatism is these days.