15 October 2013

Why we may win big in 2014

With the Republicans' poll ratings plummeting from one record low to another, many of us are wishing that the midterm election was this November instead of next.  How lamentable that such a mammoth right-wing blunder might go to waste!  The more cautious pundits are already warning that the impact of this month's events on the 2014 election may not be as great as now seems likely, since memories lose force with time.

Daily Kos has a sober assessment of our chances next year, which deserves to be read in any case.  It gives some reasons for optimism -- the Republicans have completely failed to reach out to minorities, Obama is likely to be much more engaged this time than in 2010, etc.  But it basically assumes that the Republican party will continue to function as a coherent party, as it always has in the past.  I really wonder whether it can.

It's clear now that the shutdown / debt ceiling débâcle has finally awakened the party establishment and its big-business backers to how dangerous the teabaggers are -- and that they're preparing to take real action to curb the power of the crazies.  But those crazies, based on what I'm seeing all over the right-wing internet, are in mad-as-hell-not-gonna-take-it mode -- they're convinced they were winning this fight and had the American people behind them (all the polls showing the opposite are "skewed", of course).  The moves by McConnell and other establishment Republicans to bow to inevitable defeat are seen as a new Dolchstoß, an epic betrayal, a sign that the leadership and the moderates in Congress need to be swept away by that favorite teabagger weapon, the primary challenge.  I wasn't exaggerating when I called the looming internal conflict a civil war.

If the split can't be patched up, there are basically two ways it can play out.  One is that the teabaggers or a large chunk thereof abandon the party -- they leave and form a third party, or they waste their votes on third candidates, or they refuse to vote.  This would deprive the party of a crucial part of its voting base.  No doubt the establishment would reach out to the rank-and-file crazies even while trying to curb the power of crazies in Congress -- by affirming support for their less-deranged goals, for example -- but I doubt it would work.  These people are out for blood.

The other possibility is that the teabaggers will succeed -- that the wave of primary challenges they're threatening to unleash will sweep away many moderates and give us a whole new crop of Mourdocks and Angles and O'Donnells to run against.  Aside from the inherent weakness of such candidates, this outcome would further undermine Wall Street's support for the party.

Most likely some combination of the two will happen.  In the past, divided Republicans have pulled back from the brink of such self-destructive behavior because they, too, could see the danger to conservatism as a whole.  This time, however, they believe they have an ace that guarantees success next November no matter what they do -- they believe the ACA will be such a disaster that it will drive voters back into their arms.  This conviction is emboldening them to take risks they would otherwise not take.  In fact, the evidence so far suggests that the ACA will have just the opposite effect, despite the start-up glitches.

As always, we dare not be complacent or careless.  The shutdown / debt ceiling battle has a lesson for us too -- the Republicans are even more dangerous to the country than we thought.  We must fight every election as if we could lose, no matter how confident we feel.  But in truth, 2014 might just be the year when the insanity the rightists have been nurturing finally blows up in their faces.

7 Comments:

Blogger LadyAtheist said...

If we leapfrog through the fiscal year with short term fixes, the memory may not fade by November.

15 October, 2013 04:50  
Blogger Ahab said...

Infidel -- Given your recent attention to the GOP and the shutdown, I thought this commentary at the Hipcrime Vocab might interest you.

http://hipcrime.blogspot.com/2013/10/politics-of-shutdown.html

15 October, 2013 05:36  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Lady A: Holy $#!T, I hope they're not going to keep torturing the country like this over and over for the next year. But if they do, I agree, they'll be annihilated in the election.

Ahab: Thanks, he does make a lot of good points. God knows what the average RedState commenter would make of all that, if you could get them to read it.

15 October, 2013 06:48  
Blogger Kay Dennison said...

I share your concerns re: torturing the country because they can. It could get awfully ugly!!!

15 October, 2013 07:41  
Blogger Robert the Skeptic said...

The gerrymandering at obscene levels being perpetrated by Conservative states is more concerning to me. If successful, they can pack the Congress with their ilk through shear numbers of Conservative districts. I have no clue how this can be countermanded.

As far a Wall Street looking at their Conservative buddies with any sort of jaundice, I wouldn't hold my breath. They may not like the dirty annoying barking dogs (Tea Party) but their friends are still their friends regardless of whether or not they like their friend's obnoxious pet.

15 October, 2013 14:24  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Kay: I'm already stressing out way too much over this stuff. If it drags on for months I don't know what I'll do.

Robert: It's estimated that we need at least a 7-point advantage in popular vote for the House to overcome the gerrymandering. At present that definitely looks attainable. Big-business groups have already promised money to support moderate Republican incumbents who get primaried by teabaggers because they vote to raise the debt ceiling, and I've heard they may even support moderate primary challengers against teabagger incumbents. They're looking out for their own economic self-interest, much more than for the Republican party.

15 October, 2013 15:44  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

"Party of Lincoln My Ass."

More like "Party of Missing Link."

15 October, 2013 17:52  

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