US politics

So much for the death of the Tea Party. Last night House Majority leader Eric Cantor defied the predictions of data whizzes and old school pundits alike by losing his Republican primary to Donald Bart by 28,898 votes to 36,100. Mr Cantor, who few people would describe as a moderate, spent a lot of money in a political cycle where other Tea Party candidates have struggled to match the movement’s 2010 successes. The question analysts of US politics are asking this morning is: how did this happen?

Not being present yesterday evening in the heady summer heat of Virginia’s 7th congressional district, I can only speculate how Mr Bart might have pulled it off.

But here are three suggestions: Read more

Halfway from default is still a long way from sense. On Thursday, John Boehner, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, met President Barack Obama to discuss temporarily raising the debt ceiling. In exchange, Mr Boehner wants the government to stay shut and to begin broader budget negotiations. “I would hope that the president would look at this as an opportunity and a good-faith effort on our part to move halfway — halfway to what he’s demanded,” he said. Read more

Yes, that is what it is called. But it this report from Democracy Corps, the research and polling firm of James Carville and Stan Greenberg, two former political advisers to President Bill Clinton, is important reading nonetheless. Read more

In the wake of the revelations about the National Security Agency, some commentators borrowed from Turkey the idea of a “deep state” – an extensive, shadowy and anti-democratic coalition of interests – to explain the condition of US government. The parallel was typically used to depict a furtive, unaccountable security apparatus. But the idea may also have relevance for trying to understand the origins of the government shutdown. Read more

Alexis de Tocqueville was wrong. Last night’s US government shutdown showed the tyranny of the minority, not the tyranny of the majority. Read more