An independent perspective on Brat-Cantor race

Daniel Cortez 2By Daniel Cortez

The election of tea party backed candidate Dave Brat in the 7th District primary has done little to excite independent minority voters in Virginia. Many still trying to decide which party would work to support the diversity of political opinion were frankly pushed away by the insensitive racial comments by Brat on minorities and Dream Act legislation during the campaign.

Comments do not need to be overt to have devastating consequences for a Virginia Republican party still trying to reorganize and responsibly deal with race. It continues to cost them elections.

While the RPV’s Shaun Kenney is attempting to open the minds of the party leadership, left wing media will have no problem tying Brat and Speaker Bill Howell together as synonymously being the main reasons minority independents should NOT vote Republican in November. Howell continues to slap veterans in the face refusing to support Dream Act legislation in Richmond, while Brat objected to military service for adult undocumented children who through no fault of their own have lived in the U.S. all their lives.

Such actions simply don’t bode well when many thousands of immigrants … many of them illegal … were historically granted citizenship by supporting the American constitution and fighting our nation’s battles. Many were my relatives during World War II and subsequent conflicts. So what will be the outcome of such blatant discrimination?

The best illustration was the organized protest Tuesday by immigration reform activists at the Cantor election results headquarters in Richmond. It won’t be long before Brat, Howell and other anti-immigrant legislators receive the same treatment … and they should.

As predicted, Brat attempted to distance himself from his tea party support during after-election interviews in spite of religiously expounding tea party principles. The economics professor reiterated his support of needed free market enterprise but admitted, “Amnesty at the end was the clear differentiator.”

With the majority of tea party movement organizers refusing to hold a responsible dialogue on the history of our broken immigration system without an attack mentality on the illegal issue, Brat capitalized on hard-stance voters who showed up on Election Day. It worked.

In reality, it remains difficult for anyone to dismiss the sound principles of the tea party movement. Nevertheless, Brat’s statements suggesting Ph.D. and Master degree “legal” immigrants would not be welcome in the nation remains insulting and insensitive to our national identity.

Clearly the undocumented issue remains a difficult one, but what was right with Cantor was he understood that somewhere in the middle was the answer if the border enforcement issue could be responsibly addressed.

That sentiment was reiterated today by former Governor and Senator George Allen during his segment with commentator Chuck Todd on MSNBC’S The Daily Rundown. Allen’s comment, “We need to be a magnet for the best minds in the world,” remains profound. Allen’s mother Etty was an immigrant liberated by American military forces in Tunisia.

It will be interesting to see if Brat walks back his harsh comment which would have prevented Allen’s mother from becoming a citizen and giving birth to one of Virginia’s most revered Governors. And the Cortez family who started a media empire and proudly sent sons and daughters to fight for this democracy in every conflict since World War II would also be non-existent. So would many of yours.

So with Cantor out for now, the issue of immigration reform is all but dead in the Congress which will probably force President Obama to act by executive fiat. Thank 90 percent of the voters in the Virginia 7th District for that debacle-in-waiting.

If there is justice and true reformation for conservatives, perhaps Cantor will stay in the game and attempt to reconnect with the 90 percent that refused to show up. Clearly he did a poor job selling his core beliefs, unlike Senator Lindsey Graham’s win in South Carolina. Cantor would be serving the best interests of not just the commonwealth but the nation by using his large resources to mount a write-in campaign in November. Hear that Congressman … MOUNT A WRITE- IN CAMPAIGN.

The perfect storm … 7,212 voters was the ten percent that defeated the second most powerful Republican in the nation. Kind of sad actually and, yes, another wake-up call for the RPV. I have met and sat in one of Cantor’s neighborhood meetings. He and his sound logic on immigration was the answer and would have brought in millions of on-the-fence minority and independent voters to the Republican Party. Not now.

If independents are looking for a conservative member of congress with balance and heart, they should probably look in Northern Virginia and support the brilliant campaign being run by Barbara Comstock in the 10th District. She might just save Virginia in the future as overzealous tea party extremists continue to sink it.

Daniel Cortez, a distinguished Vietnam veteran and award winning writer/broadcaster, is active in veterans and political affairs with an independent voter perspective. He can be reached at

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One thought on “An independent perspective on Brat-Cantor race

  1. Morton Coleman says:

    Rational legal immigration works, flooding a market segment with half price labor, bankrupts existing Americans who have mortgages, college bills, and numerous fixed expenses that don’t down size easily. We have entire segments of the population who with a little training could fill those jobs, why not try that for once before opening the flood gates. I would propose that at most for any job segment, that immigration percentages should match the growth in gdp and not a bit more. And when gdp is negative, immigration should be slowed.

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