Thursday, June 12, 2014

After Primary Upset, G.O.P. Fears Infighting Will Take a Toll

By JONATHAN MARTIN, NYT, JUNE 11, 2014

WASHINGTON — The sudden and decisive fall of the House majority leader, Eric Cantor of Virginia, at the hands of a conservative primary opponent tore open divisions among Republicans on Wednesday, setting off a new wave of fear that the internecine feuding would stymie policy-making and imperil Republican presidential prospects in 2016.

Mr. Cantor’s 11-point loss to David Brat, an economics professor, occurred just when party leaders were beginning to believe they had finally extinguished the Tea Party-versus-establishment civil war, and offered a stark reminder that anger among conservative activists is still boiling.

The upset, unrivaled in the history of congressional primaries, will immediately push Republicans to the right, almost certainly end any prospect for an immigration overhaul this year, and empower hard-liners like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who believe the Republican Party has not kept faith with a vocal base that demands unflinching opposition to President Obama.

“What the Republican establishment and the Chamber of Commerce don’t understand is that there’s a large element of America that wants a fight,” said former Speaker Newt Gingrich. “If you’re a conservative, you think Barack Obama is literally destroying the country you love. And you watch your leadership and they seem unwilling to take him head on, and also unable to outmaneuver him.”

(More here.)

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