The college professor who defeated Eric Cantor

Liberals and progressives claim to protect the ordinary person from exploitation by powerful corporations.  Conservatives and libertarians claim to protect the ordinary person from oppression by a powerful government.

The common ground where principled liberals and conservatives ought to meet is in opposing the present corporate-governmental interlock in Washington.

David Brat

David Brat

I think of myself as a principled liberal, and that is why I am pleased that Prof. David Brat, a principled conservative, won his upset victory over House Majority Leader in a Republican primary this week.

Brat is chair of the Department of Business and Economics at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va., and hold degrees in divinity as well as economics.   One of the themes of his teaching and writing is the hidden ethical assumptions that underlie economic reasoning and how they are used to substitute cash values for moral and religious values.

He accused Cantor of being a tool of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which he is.  He raised $200,00 for his campaign, while Cantor spent nearly $5 mllion — an advantage of nearly 25 to 1.   Everything else aside, I’m always glad to be reassured that big money is not invincible.

Brat has been described as a tea partier, but the Wall Street Journal found no evidence he was supported by any of the big tea party organizations.   I think he is a tea partier only in the sense that he, like the tea party movement, expresses the justified anger of the American middle class over what has happened to them in the past 15 years.


Eric Cantor’s Opponent Beat Him By Calling Out GOP Corruption by Lee Fang for Republic Report.

The guy who beat Eric Cantor penned a scathing, seemingly unpublished book about the economics profession by Zach Beauchamp for Vox.

Capitalism and ethics drive Brat’s worldview by Michael S. Rosenwald and Antonio Olivo for the Washington Post.

Added later:

Dave Brat and the Triumph of Rightwing Populism by John B.  Judis for The New Republic.   Hat tip to Bill Harvey for this.   Evidently Brat is more aligned with the official tea party movement than I originally thought.   The problem with the tea party movement is that it directs the justified anger of the American middle class at those lower on the economic scale rather than at the elite.

Added 6/14/14:

Cantor’s campaign spent more at steak houses than Brat spent on his entire campaign,” said Chuck Todd, host of MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown.

Talk about a claim made for headlines and Twitter.  “Eric Cantor: Burned at the steakhouse,” said Rolling Stone magazine.  “High steaks politics” and “Where’s the beef” popped up in the twittersphere.

There’s no disputing the accuracy of the comparison, which first showed up in the New York Times.

According to campaign finance data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics, Cantor spent $168,000 on fundraising events at three Virginia restaurants — Bobby Van’s Grill, Bobby Van’s Steakhouse, and Blt Steak.

Brat spent a little less than $123,000 across the board for his campaign, according to the most recent campaign finance reports, which cover spending up until May 21, 2014.

via PolitiFact Texas.

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One Response to “The college professor who defeated Eric Cantor”

  1. Atticus C. Says:

    “The common ground where principled liberals and conservatives ought to meet is in opposing the present corporate-governmental interlock in Washington.”

    Hear him, hear him!

    I think this was a good win. I agree with you that we need more principled liberals and conservatives in politics. There are too many individuals who are slaves to their corporate or political masters.


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