Republicans Have Nothing to Fear

John SidesThis morning, John Sides wrote a guest article over at Wonk Blog. It had a very cheerful sounding title, How Congressional Dysfunction Could Hurt House Republicans. I was looking for something to raise my spirits, because I’m pretty down about the Republicans in Washington. In fact, today I described them as terrorists, and I do not think this is the least bit hyperbolic.

Boy, did Dr. Sides disappoint! I think a better title for the article would have been, “How Congressional Dysfunction Will Not Hurt House Republicans.” But I can’t complain too much, because I already knew that. Especially after the new heights reaching in gerrymandering in 2010, there is little that will change. In fact, it would not surprise me if the Republicans gained seats in the House, after they greatly damaged the world economy by causing a United States government default.

So what’s up with that cheery title? Well, it turns out that some political science research shows that the electorate punishes whichever party is in control when the House is dysfunctional. Or more accurately: if House approval goes down, so does approval for the majority party’s incumbents. Sides quotes Rahm Emanuel regarding the details of governance, “Voters don’t give a [expletive] about that stuff.” And indeed they don’t. If the government defaults next month, I’m not sure if my sister Mary will have any idea it was a Republican decision.

I’ll tell you where I’m at. I just hope that for the next eight years we can avoid any catastrophes in Washington. And I hope that the Democratic Party will make a big push to control state legislatures in 2020. And if that can happen, maybe we can make some actual progress in the decade after that. Until them, I don’t think the Republicans have a God damned thing to worry about for destroying the United States. In fact, I expect them to be rewarded if just refrain from doing anything too damaging.

This is what you call “cognitive dissonance”: the ability to be hopeful and hopeless at the same exact time. Yeah psychology!


This is the song I was listening to while I wrote this:

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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