The 7th district’s composition was gerrymandered and changed. I refuse to dignify Cantor’s loss with the term “anti-Semitism” but we shouldn’t be too dismissive…
1. Big money = Powerful interests = Banks = Undermining rural WASP culture = Jew… that’s not a trivial equation among the rural WASP southern base of GOP minions. They may not pay the bills for the party, but they respond to the dog whistles.
2. I’ve lived and worked in this area for years. Keep in mind that Cantor only won his first primary in a MUCH more friendly (professional, suburban, Chamber of Commerce-y) 7th District, 50.3% to 49.7%, in 2000. The Jewish thing came up in the form of anonymous leafleting and snide comments from certain folks. But that’s also the district Cantor’s predecessor, Thomas Bliley (a – wait for it – CATHOLIC) held for years. Again, Jew and Catholic aren’t threatening categories in the OLD 7th district.
3. More typical of the voter Cantor faced in the NEW 7th district were people like this… (yes, from next-door Tennessee, but culturally the same): From Wikipedia: — In 2011, Cantor was receiving two threatening phone calls, where Glendon Swift, an antisemite, was “screaming, profanity-laden messages (that) allegedly stated that he was going to destroy Cantor, rape his daughter and kill his wife.” Swift was sentenced in April 2012 to 13 months federal prison. — Of course, knowing Cantor, that whole scenario could have have been a woe-is-me set-up… it’s easy to find drunken rubes in this neck of the woods.
Generally, I think invoking “anti-Semitism” in 2014 America is like invoking “anti-white-ism” or “anti-Christianism” or “anti-hetero-ism”. It’s a farce meant to support the worst reactionary politics, catering to the insecurities of the haves. Racism has to manifest itself institutionally, repeatedly, broadly, in an array of political economic statistics… that’s not happening with WASPs-qua-WASPs, Christians-qua-Christians, or Jews-qua-Jews. It happens with OTHER groups (e.g., blacks, Latino/as, etc). Additionally, the GOP has stoked every hatred and bigotry they can, and the Dems have played enabler to it by refusing to attack that directly (instead Obama, et al, “supercede racism” or “are above race and racism”)… so I do expect anti-Jewish bigotry to be a factor in this area of the country, one which I know very well.