Brat’s nomination win demonstrates the power of Republican energy. Although some have tried to paint Cantor’s loss as the result of sabotage, angry Republicans in the district — not angry Democrats — can take credit. There are a lot more of the former than the latter in the Seventh.
As shown in the table that accompanies this column, more than 8,000 people who voted for Cantor in the primary two years ago failed to do so in June. Cantor won every single jurisdiction in the 2012 primary; he won last than half of them this time.
Political observers who imagine Democratic influence explains Brat’s victory fail to consider that Cantor did not match his 2012 primary vote totals in any one of the district’s jurisdictions. In addition, Cantor’s decline was particularly severe in the jurisdictions with the highest GOP turnout in the November 2012 congressional election. (With Obama and Romney locked in a tight race for Virginia’s Electoral votes on that ballot, that contest maximized the number of Democratic voters. And there still weren’t all that many.).