How Immigration Reform Caused Cantor's Loss

Wednesday, 11 Jun 2014 06:41 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Majority Leader Eric Cantor may have lost his congressional seat because his position on immigration reform was "squishy," Slate reported.

Tea party opponent David Brat made immigration reform the defining issue of the GOP primary in Virginia. Cantor may have been perceived as talking out of both sides of his mouth – claiming to be opposed to legalizing undocumented aliens while working with House Speaker John Boehner on an immigration package that some conservatives viewed as embracing amnesty.

The message voters are sending Republican politicians is: "If you aren't consistent, doom can come swiftly and unexpectedly," according to Slate.

Even before Cantor's trouncing, prospects for immigration reform this year were not high.

"The [U.S.] Chamber [of Commerce] and downtown [lobbyists] want it, but they're not going to primary anyone," a GOP insider told Slate. Slate didn't identify the Republican.

With polls showing that most Americans support immigration reform, rival Republican camps will continue to battle over how to tackle the problem, according to Hoover Institution political expert Bill Whalen.

The party is divided between those such as Arizona Sen. John McCain, arguing that the GOP needs to embrace reform in order to win the presidency in 2016, and those such as Rep. Steve King of Iowa who are staunchly opposed to reform.

For now, however, there is little doubt that "immigration reform is dead," according to Politico. Cantor's loss could also present problems for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, if they make presidential runs, because both are identified with immigration reform, Politico reported.

Meanwhile, anti-immigration activists will be pushing the point that the best way to reach Hispanic voters is with an economic message.

"The way to do it is with a pro-worker, pro-middle class agenda that will appeal to all voters," said Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, according to The Daily Caller.

The Brat victory probably also means that administration hopes of doubling the yearly quota of immigrants and guest workers is also on hold, according to the Caller.

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