1. Immigration reform is dead. I’m not sure it was ever really alive in the House — we’ve written plenty about how the average House Republican has zero incentive to support any immigration reform — but Cantor’s loss ensures that even chatter about making minor changes will disappear. Anytime an incumbent — and particularly a well-funded incumbent like Cantor — loses there are lots of reasons for the defeat, but this one will be cast as a rebuke of any moderation on immigration. Brat savaged Cantor as “100% all-in” on amnesty and accused him of “bobbing and weaving” on the issue. Any Republican member of Congress who was even contemplating going a step or two out on a political limb to vote for some elements of immigration reform will stop thinking that way immediately. Not only is immigration reform a no-go for Republicans in this election but it may well be off the table — assuming Republicans control the House — for the next several years.
2. House legislative activity will cease. Again, there wasn’t a heck of a lot of grand legislative plans before Cantor’s loss. But, that trickle will totally dry up now as Republican members avoid doing anything — literally, anything — that could be used against them in the many primaries still to come this summer and fall. Members will be afraid of their own shadows.