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An interesting dynamic is shaping up for the 2014 House elections. It could wind up being a classic Tragedy of the Commons, wherein what is in each individual member's own interest winds up being a huge loss for the Republicans as a party.

As I write this, the Republicans are on the verge of pushing the country over the fiscal curb. Much more dangerously, they seem willing to hold the debt ceiling hostage in their tantrum to get their way (or, as Krugman says, to "use vandalism to subvert the constitutional process").

Clearly, they're adopting these extremist positions in deference to their ultraconservative base (whether or not you want to call them "Tea Partiers"). They're desperately afraid of getting primaried in 2014. But if they do wind up wreaking severe damage on the economy, the voters aren't likely to look kindly at them in the general election. The result would be an almost certain Democratic takeover of the House.

So the choice is: (a) be a little bit reasonable and sensible and risk losing the primary, or (b) stick to your wingnut guns and get booted in the general.

I expect most of them will choose option (b), leading to a classic Tragedy of the Commons for the Party.

Frankly, though, that's a tragedy I could live with.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tipped and recced (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jasan, Sylv, 88kathy, ahumbleopinion, RUNDOWN

    But I doubt we win the House in 2014. The Repugs have gerrymandered all of the Congressional districts to Hell so that even when we won a popular majority vote in the House, the Rethugs are still in charge. It doesn't help that Dems don't tend to turn out in midterms.

    However I DO see it possible to buck the current trends and GAIN seats in 2014. It depends on Obama, Democratic activists, and yes, voters. If Obama cuts Social Security in any way, we lose seats. He protects it, (which is my hope) we'll gain them. We'll see.

    Why do I have the feeling George W. Bush joined the Stonecutters, ate a mess of ribs, and used the Constitution as a napkin?

    by Matt Z on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 02:27:43 PM PST

  •  Me too! Let the tragedy begin! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chrismorgan
  •  they don't need to be in power anymore (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RUNDOWN

    Not when they can get what they want from hostage-taking.  Democrats eager to give everyone a seat at the table as a matter of principle, to be the "adult in the room" standing in aloof splendor above ideology, and to orchestrate grand bargains that solve issues once and for all in a wonkish masterstroke will be happy to give them everything they want.  It's not like they have a choice, though; anything too "liberal" really will bring the radical right out to vote.

    Also gerrymandering.

    To those who say the New Deal didn't work: WWII was also government spending

    by Visceral on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 02:41:14 PM PST

  •  They're safe (electorally) in 2014 (0+ / 0-)

    Districting and mid-term demographics indicate they'll hold the line.

    It's far far far far away I know, but I still see another shellacking for them in 2016.  Already, they've explained away this election defeat by saying it's Obama's coalition and it will never turn out again (just the way 2008 wouldn't happen again, right?).

    They're mistaken. Of course the Obama machine will be turned out for the next D candidate.

    •  Dems would need MASSIVE anti-GOP backlash (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Zera Lee

      ...in order to regain the House, to put it mildly.

      We would probably need to win districts like WI-6, IA-4, MN-6, KS-2, KS-3, IL-14, ND-AL, and SD-AL in order to win back control of the House.

      Also, Republicans appear to already be spinning a likely failure to advert the so-called "fiscal cliff" by blaming Democrats for the gridlock.

      Elizabeth Warren on the Senate Banking Committee is a BFD!

      by DownstateDemocrat on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 05:52:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  All I know (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ahumbleopinion, GDbot

    is that if voter turnout is suppressed, like it was in 2010 by gnashing and bellowing of the far left as well as the far right, who even allied together at times, then we will see the house remain in GOP hands till 2016.

    Keep it simple stupid should be the democrats goal for 2014. In other words, act like the democrats are 20 points behind in the game. For once stop acting like cats who can't be herded, and just find a simple common goal for 2014 voter turnout.

    A nice simple campaign slogan for 2014 should be something like- Clean the House, Sanity Restoration Project...well you get my oint.

    GOP- Fact Free since 1981!

    by KingGeorgetheTurd on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 04:01:51 PM PST

  •  Those districts may be safe today (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DownstateDemocrat

    But we can hope for closer districts, and the GOP voting retiree populations in those districts to open their eyes to the cynical attempts they have made to reduce them to the "catfood class"...

    Hopefully GOP voting women will start to see the Republican platform for what it is.

    Maybe GOP voting members of labor can get a kick in the backside.

    We can hope for retirements, and outlandish primary challenges that replace otherwise "safe" members with extreme crackpots.

    On another note - census data is notorious for omitting large swaths of voters, teenagers, who will be eligible to vote in 2014, and the Latino population.

    Otherwise, just some unexpected enlightenment here and there could do the trick.

    Not worth "giving up" on any district.

    Not a time to assume anything.

    If not us ... who? If not here ... where? If not now ... when?

    by RUNDOWN on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 05:53:04 PM PST

  •  Brings to mind the dilemma that Richard Lugar (0+ / 0-)

    faced.  He chose not to stand up to the far right craziness when he could, voted for less than a handful of Dem endorsed bills and appointments that reflected his lifelong work and areas of legislative initiative (like the START treaty, Dream Act, etc.) and was primaried anyway (by a man who was in charge of the treasury of his state when vast sums "disappeared" and then reappeared from those collected from state taxes.)

    The GOP has created quite a problem for themselves and consequently for the rest of us.

  •  We should stop calling them Republicans. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DownstateDemocrat, RobLewis

    They are terrorists, pure and simple.  Their supporters are terrorist sympathizers.  Their donors are terrorist bankrollers.  As Americans, it is our sacred duty to not negotiate with these terrorists.  Give them nothing.

    I count even the single grain of sand to be a higher life-form than the likes of Sarah Palin and her odious ilk.

    by Liberal Panzer on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 03:29:59 AM PST

  •  The GOP as it now exists must be destroyed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DownstateDemocrat

    Nihilistic vandals and terrorists fixated on wrecking the structure of the nation.

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