One of the more mysterious things to happen in politics this past week was the defeat of House majority Leader, Eric Cantor by relatively unknown, Dave Brat. When the votes were counted, neither Cantor nor Brat were quick to believe the results.
They had been told by polls how the election was going to go. Only this time it didn’t.
They had expected the difference in money spent campaigning to rule the day. Only this time Brat, spent less than $123,000 while Cantor spent almost $5,000,000.
The media believed it had relegated Brat to extinction by marginalizing him as a part of the tea party. But that apparently didn’t have the expected effect.
I cannot tell you what really happened in Virginia. But I can choose to see it as a positive.
I find it hopeful that the polls were wrong. Polls have been thoroughly misused, to not only inform the public, but also to shape public opinion. This event may reshape the power of the pollster.
I also find it hopeful that dollars did not rule the day. Dollars winning elections should be an abhorrent thought to all Americans, the idea that we are bought.
I find it hopeful that the public bucked the negative labeling of the press. I believe a media which was doing its job would inform the voting public of the positions of each candidate. Then they could vote, accordingly. Perhaps they will again begin reporting the public opinion instead of trying to shape it.
Note on that last point, America and politicians have been told the way to win election is to stay aligned with your political base while winning votes from the moderate middle. But perhaps at some point it can once again be about public service, leadership and maintaining American values and virtues.