Last night, when Eric Cantor lost his seat as House Majority Leader, Wall Street lost a buddy.
The kind of guy the industry could throw $1.2 million dollars in 2013 and 2014.
But perhaps more important than any of that, when Cantor lost, Wall Street was yet again reminded that it faces the horrible prospect of being attacked by populists on the left and the right.
Cantor lost to a little-known economics professor and Ayn Rand disciple named Dave Brat. In Brat's victory speech, he might as well have called out The Street by name.
“I will fight to end crony capitalist programs that benefit the rich and powerful,” he said.
He made his views clear on the campaign trail as well.
"I am running against Cantor because he does not represent the citizens of the 7th District, but rather large corporations seeking insider deals, crony bailouts and a constant supply of low-wage workers,” he wrote in an op-ed in The Times Dispatch.
He went on: "The truth is, Cantor has voted to raise the debt ceiling 10 times... and is the leading force in the House pushing for amnesty for illegal immigrants. He also voted for TARP... The debt is over $17 trillion and the unfunded liabilities are over $127 trillion, all under Cantor’s leadership. Last quarter the economy shrank by 1 percent. We are off course. We need positive free-market leadership."
This is "free-market" Tea Party talk, not "free-market" Wall Street talk. Wall Street loved TARP. It wants a more liberal stance on immigration, and it absolutely does not want another silly, pointless battle over the debt ceiling.
Cantor on the other hand. Now that guy was a friend. A source told Politico that he was “one of the few remaining House Republicans who understood the complicated and nuanced issues facing the financial services community."
And when Republican Dave Camp turned on the Street over carried interest — a private equity tax loophole — Cantor reportedly went to bat for his friends, attacking Camp. He had to. Cantor was the top recipient of political donations from private equity and the finance industry in 2013 and 2014 according to the Center for Responsive Politics, after all.
A few months ago, when all this primary hullabaloo started, it seemed like the Tea Party was dead. Wall Street breathed a sigh of belief. People often forget that the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street had some very key beliefs in common.
Remember in 2011 when people were passing around this Venn Diagram from blogger James Sinclair?
Now take that all in.
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