The Atlantic has a post-mortem on Eric Cantor's primary loss and what it means (and doesn't mean) for the American body politic. For me, this is the money quote:
In truth, it's not quite so simple. The Tea Party has come up short in most of the big races where it played this year, and other, unapologetic Republican supporters of immigration reform, like North Carolina Representative Renee Ellmers and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, have held on in the face of primary challenges. Cantor may have suffered more for his role as part of the unpopular House leadership than for any particular issue. After Republicans took the House in 2010, Cantor positioned himself as conservatives' voice in leadership, a role in which he was blamed for scuttling the 2011 debt-limit deal that led to the nation's credit being downgraded. But he had since patched things up with Boehner, a turnaround that led many House Republicans in both camps—the hard right and the establishment—to be unsure they could trust him.
As we've known for a while, the Tea Party doesn't do very well outside of small environments (like, say, individual districts), because its candidates tend to be, well, horrifying to audiences larger than the group of people who vote in congressional primaries. Since both parties have done their best to gerrymander districts to pretty much guarantee non-competitive general elections for House seats, that means that Tea Partiers can pick up House seats (and spots on the ballot) from GOP incumbents even while not being able to take Senate seats (and spots on the ballot) because statewide parties are still powerful enough to say, "If this lunatic wins the primary, we're screwed in the general election" and have people actually listen.
Still, even though the guy who beat Cantor in the primary will probably win the general election, and will probably be worse, I do find it kind of amusing to think that he was taken down by people who don't see the cognitive disconnect between disliking him as part of the obstructionist GOP leadership that's wildly unpopular and disliking him for not being sufficiently conservative (read, in the current political discourse: obstructionist). Eric Cantor: Lousy food, and such small portions.