House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s stunning loss Tuesday night to Tea Party-aligned challenger Dave Brat figures to embolden grassroots conservatives on multiple fronts.
Deal-making is out. Immigration reform is dead, at least this year. And it could mean an “ugly” fight over raising the nation’s debt ceiling when it comes up again next spring, analyst Greg Valliere said Wednesday.
“Forget about any other deal-making; an ugly, market-rattling debt ceiling fight now looms in March of 2015,” Valliere said in a research note.
Cantor’s loss throws everything out of whack, in an election season that was largely shaping up along a narrative of establishment Republicans striking back against grassroots challengers.
Brat’s upset of Cantor will send House leadership scrambling to replace him. It could embolden one of the many members of the House Republican caucus to make a play to join leadership. And it will likely inspire many Tea Party challenges to incumbents.
“Business groups like the Chamber of Commerce were vilified by Cantor’s opponent; “crony capitalist” is the new insult. But perhaps the biggest loser is the GOP brand as the House careens further to the far right — good luck winning the White House in 2016,” Valliere wrote.
The debt-ceiling fight could become even more pronounced if Republicans recapture control of the U.S. Senate in November. It would give the GOP control of both chambers of Congress, and it would make President Barack Obama’s stance of not negotiating over the debt ceiling somewhat untenable.
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