As commentators scrambled to make sense of how House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) lost Tuesday’s primary election to a little-known and little-funded Tea Party professor, conservative radio host Laura Ingraham gloated that Cantor’s defeat was a “repudiation” of the GOP establishment on immigration reform.
“I think this race in the end goes down as one of the most significant repudiations of establishment immigration reform certainly that I’ve seen in my 20 years of doing politics,” Ingraham said on Fox News’ “The Kelly File.”
Ingraham mentioned that she was one few national names to throw her support behind David Brat, the Randolph-Macon College economics professor who defeated Cantor, while national Tea Party organizations all but ignored his candidacy. She then posited that Cantor’s position on immigration reform, which she characterized as in favor of amnesty, played a “significant role” in his loss.
“People have just been laughing about this primary, and I’ll say to everybody watching — don’t discount the frustration and the irritation and the fury of the American people when year after year their lives aren’t getting any better,” she said. “That’s the untold story here. The American people are sitting by, seeing their wealth deteriorate, their prospects go under, their future dismal. Meanwhile politicians either throw up their hands or outright lie to them about the situation. That’s what’s undergirding this.”
Ingraham said voters just “weren’t buying” the idea that Cantor would be tough on immigration enforcement.
“It doesn’t mean the issue is over,” she later added, referring to immigration reform. “But I do believe if Republicans continue to go down this road where people who have violated our laws and are living here are going to continue to get benefits that regular working class people are not getting, I think that’s going to be a really hard sell to folks … In fact, I think somebody who runs on immigration reform or amnesty or whatever you want to call it in 2016 would probably do worse than Mitt Romney did in 2012.”
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.