GOP’s Midterm-Election Nightmare Scenario

Voter backlash over the shutdown and the Obamacare fight could cost Republicans control of Congress.

2008 presidential election results (Thinkstock)
2008 presidential election results (Thinkstock)

Krugman’s analysis is already being proven with statistical data, as the health care law has become more popular since the shutdown began. Thirty-eight percent see the Affordable Care Act (or “Obamacare”) as a good idea — up from 31 percent last month. And, 50 percent of Americans say they oppose eliminating funding for the law — up from 46 percent.

And 52 percent to 44 percent of respondents believe the government should do more to solve people’s problems — an antithetical position to the core of Republican, antigovernment ideology.

So what could happen in 2014? PPP surveyed 24 congressional districts currently held by Republicans. They asked voters to choose between their current representative and a generic Democrat and the result was a swing toward Democrats for 23 out of 24 races.

Sam Wang of the Washington Post surmised that since the election is more than a year away, it is difficult to predict how current sentiment will translate to future gains or losses, but his research showed that if the election were held now, Democrats would pick up roughly 30 seats, giving them control of the chamber.

And given recent trends that show increased voter participation among racial and ethnic minorities and young people, Republicans should be concerned.

Kelly Ward, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, spoke exclusively to The Root about the GOP’s manufactured crisis and the potential boomerang effect it may inspire.

“No one knows what this reckless House Republican caucus is willing to do in order to achieve their radical ideology, and that’s why it’s so important to work to elect commonsense problem-solvers in 2014,” she said.

“House Republicans engineered this shutdown and have refused to end it — and polls show the American people know Republicans are responsible,” she continued. “At the DCCC, we’re driving deep into the map, putting red seats in play with strong candidates who will appeal to voters who are looking for commonsense solutions instead of these reckless antics. We hired our field and targeting staff earlier than ever before, and we’re using the latest technology from the Obama campaign to make sure that we’re communicating with voters earlier than ever before.”

What is certain is that American governance was obstructed long before the actual shutdown. The GOP’s radical right wing has stifled President Obama’s agenda everywhere from the American Jobs Act to immigration reform to gun control. They have juxtaposed this with a surreptitious effort to restrict the voting franchise in states across the country.

It seems the only way for Americans to elect the government they deserve will be to unseat the government that refuses to govern at all.

Edward Wyckoff Williams is a contributing editor at The Root. He is a columnist and political analyst, appearing on Al-Jazeera, MSNBC, ABC, CBS Washington and national syndicated radio. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.