Muftic: GOP political tricks likely to backfire in 2016 |

Muftic: GOP political tricks likely to backfire in 2016

Felicia Muftic
Courtesy Photo |

Are Republicans performing dumb political tricks when they try to destroy President Obama’s major domestic initiatives of Obamacare and immigration reform with threats of shutting down the government? Possibly.

Polls reflect and are warnings of backfires. Continuing resolutions and compromise are temporary band-aids but eventually the time clock runs out and a nasty taste is left in the voters’ mouths.

In the fall of 2013 much of the federal government was shut down over Obamacare. The radical right of the GOP, the Tea Party wing, tried to defund implementation of the health care reform law and they tied it to the government funding legislation. They hoped by including it in another piece of legislation critical to government functioning they would force the president to cave in. To avoid getting the blame for being the party who pulled this stunt, they pointed a finger at the president saying it was his fault because he refused to compromise on Obamacare.

The problem for the GOP is that the public was not fooled about who initiated the strategy and they were angered with the shutdown that inconvenienced and disgusted them. Per an ABC/Washington Post Poll October 22, 2013, “eight in 10 Americans say they disapprove of the shutdown. Two in three Republicans or independents who lean Republican share a negative view of the impasse. And even a majority of those who support the tea party movement disapprove.”

The GOP right are fooling themselves if they point to victories in 2014 as a sign shutdowns do not matter. The can was kicked down the road then and it was no longer a front burner issue. As the German saying goes: “Out of sight, out of mind”. Neither will happen in 2015.

In 2015 the issue is different; the strategy is the same. It is the Tea Party congressional wing again, requiring the rest of Congress to vote to overturn the president’s executive actions on immigration by tying it to funding Homeland Security at a time when Americans are sweating in fear from ISIS.

Once again, the Tea Party shoots the GOP in its feet and only 30 percent of the public approve of the shutdown strategy. Fifty-three percent blame the GOP per a CNN/ORC poll (2/17/2015).

In this case, though, the potential electoral fallout is long lasting and serious. In 2013 the GOP had only midterms to contest in mostly red states. In 2016 general election electoral votes are at stake and demographics and turnout are different. The Senate map favors Democrats since the election will hinge on blue and purple swing states with large Hispanic voting blocks.

The ones most impacted if their citizens can no longer get Obamacare health insurance because a possible Supreme Court decision are low income white voters upon which red state GOP support depends. This will put state GOP Senate and state House candidates on the spot to offer a fix. Count on Democrats to remind voters of their GOP opponents’ votes and positions in 2016.

Poll and analysis sources visit

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