Can Raúl Labrador Become the Next House Majority Leader?

Can Raúl Labrador Become the Next House Majority Leader?

A mountain was destroyed last week in Washington. Did no one really see the cracks and feel the tremors before it happened? If it can be believed, not even national Tea Party groups were aware that Eric Cantor’s days as House Majority Leader were numbered. Only local forces in Virginia knew “how large the ABC — Anybody But Cantor — mentality was,” says Larry Nordvig, executive director of the Richmond Tea Party. It almost restores my faith in elections. That not every election can be bought with big money. Sometimes the only acceptable currency is “passion”.

However, there’s still one problem. Who will replace the House Majority Leader now that he’s out? While the Tea Party appears to be “powerful enough to take out a majority leader in historic fashion”, writes Robert Costa of The Washington post, it still doesn’t have enough political weight in Congress to replace Cantor with one of their own.

Yes, the Tea Party can take down a mountain, but pushing up another one is a different story.

(Not that I would recommend ever having your back turned away from the Tea Party. As one contributor to The Washington Post says, “What the tea party giveth, the tea party taketh away.”)

Can Idaho’s Raúl Labrador be that leader? FreedomWorks and Campaign For Liberty were quick to endorse him. Even Rand Paul gave him a nod in Idaho, saying: ‘Voters want someone different. Raul brings that.’

But other Tea Party forces feel it’s a long-shot.

“Since Congress is a place where personal relationships rule, we’ve decided to largely stay out of the leadership races,” said Sal Russo, an adviser to the Tea Party Express. “Unless you’re in the club, it’s hard to win the inside game.” (Washington Post)

The Tea Party rallied the support and passion to bring down Eric Cantor, but as Dean Clancy of U.S. News points out, it still lacks the political muscle to fill the void.

To be sure, the tea party is still setting the terms of key national debates, as we see with health care and immigration. And still very much alive at the grassroots level, as soon-to-be-former Congressman Cantor, and the currently besieged Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, can attest.

And yet, when it comes to obtaining and exercising real power in Washington, the movement remains weak.

Rep. Raúl Labrador may not have a strong shot as House Majority Leader but, as Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) says, he still has “David Brat’s chance of winning.” We all saw what happened last week. If the earth can move once in Washington, well, it could happen again. What do you think about Labrador’s chances? Share your thoughts below. Send us a tweet or follow us for daily updates on Facebook.


(Photo courtesy of Mark Taylor, via Flickr CC BY 2.0)



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