Silver believes that the shutdown is unlikely to significantly impact the midterms. In response, Ezra asks, “If they reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling for six weeks and then they get nothing for it, will they really be able to pass a clean CR and another debt-ceiling increase in late-November?”
If this ends and the negotiations fail, the lesson many in the party will take isn’t that the GOP erred terribly in in employing these extreme and unpopular tactics. It’ll be that they erred terribly in backing down from them, and letting the leadership muck up the clear messaging of Ted Cruz and the Tea Party.
Republicans should be very worried about what this episode means for their party in the midterms. But not because the shutdown itself is going to be foremost in voter’s minds 13 months from now. It’s because the shutdown is evidence of a Republican crack-up that is leading the party to pursue doomed, reckless and self-destructive campaigns. And if they keep doing that through the rest of 2013 and much of 2014, that will matter in the elections.