Many a commentator is making a big deal about Representative Eric Cantor’s loss to a “Tea Party” candidate in the Virginia Republican primary. But few look at how many actually voted.
Unoffical results 2014-06-11 15:22 EDT
Eric I. Cantor 28,902 44.45%
David A. Brat 36,120 55.55%
Total votes 65,022
However, there are 473,032 registered voters in Congressional District 7 which means that 13.75% of them voted for either Republican candidate. Assuming that these registered voters are evenly split between “Republicans” and “Democrats”, then we could say that 27.5% of the registered Republicans bothered to show up. Does that mean that 72.5% of the registered “Republicans” don’t care for either candidate or just plain don’t care to vote. If there are more “Republicans” than “Democrats”, the percent of “Republican” no-shows is even worse.
But, some who voted for Brat consider themselves “Democrats”. They voted for him to get rid of Cantor. See these admissions in the comments to http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/12/us/politics/after-eric-cantor-primary-defeat-house-republicans-take-stock.html These “crossover” voters are probably a tiny percent of those who bothered to show; still, their votes won’t be there for Brat in November. Also, how many Cantor supporters will be no shows in November?
I think we should get away from party primaries and have open primaries. Those who didn’t give time or a dime to a political party should not be choosing a party’s candidates.
No matter your political preference, the lesson here is:
Always vote because every vote always counts. If you stay away you give the election away.
See also "Dollars don't vote – you do" – David Brat.