Mitch Perry Report 6.11.14: Ted Cruz wing of the GOP emboldened after Cantor stunner?

Posted by Mitch Perry on Wed, Jun 11, 2014 at 8:41 AM

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On CBS' This Morning, longtime Republican pollster Frank Luntz said "Republican pollsters suck," in explaining to Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell why House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary re-election bid to little-known Tea Partier David Brat last night. (Luntz mentioned that Mitt Romney's pollster got it wrong in 2012 as well.)

Obviously it wasn't just Cantor's own internal pollster who missed seeing that the Virginia Congressman might be upset, which is why the term "political earthquake" is being espoused by political pundits across the country this morning.  Cantor (and everyone else) obviously took it for granted that he had it in the bag (he won by nearly 80 percent of the GOP primary vote in 2012).

So what does it really mean, and is too much being made of one congressional district? Luntz said this was a loss for the country because Cantor was a Republican who "was a pipeline to Americans to get things done," meaning he wasn't a Tea Party crazy. New York Congressman Peter King said the vote would embolden the Ted Cruz's of the world.

What's sort of amusing is that immigration is supposed to be the reason why Republican voters pushed Cantor out, but Cantor was never for comprehensive immigration reform. In the past couple of years he did come around to supporting the DREAM Act, a bill that's been hanging around in Congress for a decade but still doesn't have a majority of Republicans behind it. The fact of the matter is, the majority of this country wants immigration reform, but opposition to that is strongest in the Deep South and in the most conservative enclaves. Whatever spin you hear from conservatives today, don't forget that.

Meanwhile, a new poll out yesterday shows where $12 million of campaign commercials can get you — into a tie race in the case of Rick Scott vs. Charlie Crist, who has yet to air one paid television ad in Florida.

And there has been some damning reporting regarding the status of our for-profit juvenile prisons here in Florida. Now a national activist group is calling on state leaders to end the whole concept, based on reports of abuses there.

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