The GOP’s Problem is the Hardcore Base Still Loves Ted Cruz
The problem for the Republican party is that even though this shutdown is destroying their brand, the political dynamics pushing the whole party rightward still have not changed.
The lack of swing districts means the main electoral concern for most House Republicans is a Republican primary challenge from their right. The hardcore base of the Republicans party that makes up a huge portion of the primary electorate still thinks this shutdown was a good idea despite what it has done to the party’s national approval numbers.
At the Value Voters summit Ted Cruz easily dominated the straw poll with 42 percent of the vote. In second place was Dr. Ben Carson with 13 percent. Cruz is still a rock star with the base despite being the Pied Piper of the shutdown.
What a big section of Republican primary voters wants is complete opposition to President Obama even if there is no real strategy. They want a big fight, not smart tactics that can result in measured victories. As long as these primary voters are the main electoral concern of a critical mass of the Republican House caucus, they will get what they want.
Normally after such a damaging move a party would seriously rethink their tactics, but there is a real chance that will not happen this time. The true base doesn’t yet seem convinced this was a mistake.
Photo by Gage Skidmore under Creative Commons license