In a surprising turn of events, Dave Brat won the Republican Party nomination for a House seat in Virginia, displacing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Cantor heavily outspent his opponent, and no one (apparently including Brat) expected Brat—a political newcomer—to win the nomination over the seasoned incumbent. Given that Brat has shaken the Republican establishment and grabbed headlines nationwide, let’s evaluate some of his ideas.
Brat is not, as the Huffington Post claims, an “Ayn Rand proselytizer.” Those who claim he is point to the fact that he is the director of the BB&T Moral Foundations of Capitalism Program for Randolph-Macon College—a program sympathetic to Rand’s ideas—and that he coauthored a 2010 paper about Rand. However, although Brat largely supports free markets, he does not consistently support them, as Rand did; he disagrees with Rand on important philosophic issues; and he himself recognizes that his views are not Rand’s.
Consider first some indicators of Brat’s support for free markets:
- Brat summarized his beliefs: “Free Markets, Constitution, Liberty. No more Crony Capitalism!”
- Explicitly endorsing the Tenth Amendment, Brat said at a rally, “the Constitution has enumerated powers belonging to the federal government. All the rest of the powers belong to the states and the people.”
- “Brat said [Cantor] and other top congressional Republicans in Washington had set aside their ‘free market principles’ when they backed the bailout legislation . . . after the fiscal crisis in 2008,” CNN reports.
- Brat wants to “defund” ObamaCare and “replace it with free-market solutions that lower costs, improve quality, and increase access to care.”
On these and many other political issues, Brat and Rand would agree.
Brat parts ways with Rand dramatically, though, on the issue of immigration. Although Rand would agree with Brat that the United States should bar criminals and terrorists and that immigrants should not receive welfare (Rand held that no one should receive welfare), Rand called for open immigration, whereas Brat calls for largely closed immigration.
Brat states: . . .