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12% of registered voters sufficed to dump Cantor. Should they have stayed home and whined?

In my not-so-famous diary, IF NY State Get Fracked, Whose Fault Is That? (+ Bonus IQ Test) I argued that, in an off presidential election year, if 30% of registered voters are Democrats, you need just 6% of total registered voters to dump an incumbent in a primary.

Brat got 20% more votes than Cantor, so what he absolutely needed was less than 12% – more like 9.6%.

6% and 9.6% are both awfully low numbers…..



Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best analyses of Cantor’s unlikely loss. But an important caveat as you sort through the reporting: Be wary of sweeping conclusions based on a midterm primary. Only 65,000 people cast ballots last night — around 12 percent of registered voters in Virginia’s 7th District. So while the results may say a lot about the Republican Party’s activist base, Eric Cantor’s relationship with those voters and perhaps the mood among the most conservative constituents in Virginia’s 7th District, they probably offer little insight into nationwide trends heading into November’s midterms.


To answer the question posed in my title: No, they should not have stayed home and whined.

As Ralph Nader has reminded us, a lot of democracy is just about showing up. Any group that’s serious about change needs to show up – and not in huge numbers – to exert political muscle in a primary. Only as the participation rate becomes a-historically high will such a strategy begin to fail.

Ah, but that would be a nice problem to have, since, I presume, an energized voting base will have made strides in voting out the plutocrat lackeys from the Dem and Repub parties.

Nor should they have run, fatalistically assuming that their $$ disadvantage was fatal.
As metamars has reminded us, the public is rich in votes, even if not in $$.

See also Twisting Your Congress Critters’ Arm – A Goldilocks’-Sized First Step In Domination by the Electorate (Short Version)

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