Shutdown: ‘A Pox On Everybody’s House’

Democrats have the advantage in the government shutdown debate, but it’s not the rout that many anticipated.

While polls show that more people blame Republicans than Democrats, the margin is not so lopsided that GOP leaders feel compelled to back down.

Republicans haven’t been flawless by any means, but the GOP has aggressively seized on Democratic mistakes. They also forced Democrats to shift strategy following GOP attacks that the White House was refusing to come to the negotiating table.

Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist who worked on Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 2008 presidential campaign, said, “Right now it’s a net negative for the GOP, but the sky isn’t exactly falling either.”

O’Connell said the shutdown will make it more difficult to win Senate races in Democratic-leaning states such as Iowa, Michigan, Colorado and Minnesota. He said the primary GOP targets, however — Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina — would be unaffected.

The political calculus becomes much worse for Republicans if the shutdown fight morphs into a stalemate over the debt ceiling that forces the country into default.

“If the default winds up tanking or seriously hurting the economy then the Republicans will get the lion’s share of the blame,” he said. “I think that’s why you’re seeing some of the scare tactics from the White House, why they’re ginning up the notion of default.”

Read more from Alexander Bolton at The Hill

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Analysis & Political Strategy