Eric Cantor’s primary loss no cause for celebration for ‘do nothing’ Congress

By Saba Long

“Our mission is to bring awareness to any issue which challenges the security, sovereignty or domestic tranquility of our beloved nation, The United States of America.”

The above declaration serves as the guiding principle for the Tea Party, provocateurs of the political status quo and our two-party structure. The system is not working – our national debt is out of control, crony capitalism reigns supreme, and we simply shrug and ignore ethics charges against elected officials.

America’s security, sovereignty and domestic tranquility are under attack. A political cannibalism is in effect, causing the ousting of one the most conservative Republicans in the House. Eric Cantor, policy-crafting heavyweight, was taken down by the smooth stones of fundamental campaigning and mistrust of Washington, D.C.

Even so, a Cantor loss exacerbates a serious problem that is truly nonpartisan in nature – the direction of the Republican Party. U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) narrowly escaped the guillotine as he, too, faced Tea Party challengers.

Democrats gloating about the current state of the Republican Party fail to realize something – Republicans are Americans too. The same goes for Tea Partiers celebrating Dave Brat’s win.

This nation’s ability to tackle the tough issues cannot rest at the feet of one party. We have tried that and failed, repeatedly. Absolute power corrupts absolutely as both parties have shown in dramatic fashion.

It is why the Tea Party is so effective in attracting people to its cause; its message is simple – they are failing you.

Does last week’s election signal a Tea Party takeover? Not likely. However, it has the makings of a seismic shift in the public realization that no single elected official is beyond defeat.

But Brat, the Tea Party, the GOP – and yes, even the Democratic Party – must ask themselves, “Now what?”

If the Tea Party successfully ousted an individual capable of ‘whipping’ the votes needed for bipartisan support, what do we expect to happen to the next Majority Whip? Perhaps someone even further to the right of Cantor?

A recent Pew Research study shows, today, 92 percent of Republicans are to the right of the middle Democrat, compared with 64 percent 20 years ago. And 94 percent of Democrats are to the left of the median Republican, a 24 percent increase from 1994.

Our republic works best when the concerns of the public are properly, openly debated and a culture of compromise is celebrated. Legislation passes or fails as a result of compromise and collaboration; there’s a reason we’ve dubbed this the “do nothing Congress.”

America cannot serve as global Commander-in-Chief, should we desire to continue carrying this title, if we fail to practice the virtues of nation building within our own borders.

The citizenry is ready for a government that puts the interest of home first. And yet the American public has wearily accepted Washington’s kicking the proverbial can down the road on matters such as immigration reform, funding critical infrastructure needs and corporate tax reform.

Meanwhile, the Koch brothers have launched yet another super PAC, whose donors remain anonymous, aimed to influence the midterm elections. Democrats also have their Koch-like supporters, albeit much smaller in political influence and financial might.

More often than not, these faux grassroots efforts merely serve to benefit the well funded by attacking policies and politicians that stand in the way of corporate profits.

Caught in the fray are tech entrepreneurs seeking patent reform, construction workers ready to start rebuilding America and graduates pursuing expat employment opportunities.

Polarized politics is threatening the growth of this country. and if these trends continue, will threaten our relevance in the world.

Saba Long is a communications and political professional who lives in downtown Atlanta. She serves as the senior council aide and communications liaison for Post 2 At-Large Atlanta City Councilman Aaron Watson. Most recently, Saba was the press secretary for MAVEN and Untie Atlanta -- the Metro Chamber’s education and advocacy campaigns in supportive of the Atlanta Regional Transportation Referendum. She has consulted with H.E.G. an analytics and evaluation firm where she lent strategic marketing and social media expertise to numerous political campaigns, including that of Fulton County Chairman John Eaves and the 2010 Clayton County transportation referendum. In 2009, Saba served as the deputy campaign manager for the campaign of City Council President Ceasar Mitchell. Previously, Saba was a Junior Account Executive at iFusion Marketing, where she lent fractional marketing strategy to various ATDC technology startups operating out of the Georgia Tech incubator, ATDC. For the past two years, Saba has presented on online marketing and politics to the incoming fellows of the Atlanta chapter of the New Leaders Council.

3 replies
  1. Brian Debonamour says:

    Lindsey Graham won the SC primary with 56% of the vote with six challengers. I wouldn’t call that barely escaping the guillotine.Report

    Reply

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