StanCollender'sCapitalGainsandGames Washington, Wall Street and Everything in Between



House GOP Doesn't Care About A Republican White House In 2016

15 Jul 2013
Posted by Stan Collender

Make no mistake about it; House Republicans definitely prefer that a Republican be elected president.

But what's been clear for years on things related to the budget has become even more obvious in recent weeks with the take-no-prisoner decisions House Republicans made on immigration and agriculture: The House GOP is increasingly unwilling to make its own political lives even slightly more difficult by making accommodations (that is, compromises) that make the election of a Republican candidate in 2016 more likely.

And I don't just mean compromises with Democrats. These days House Republicans are as unwilling to make deals that make life easier for their R Senate colleagues as they are with the Ds in either house.

The implications of this situation for the federal budget debate in the coming years is simple. Without a major crisis that changes the situation (and given the "crisis fatigue" we have these days I'm not even sure then), the debates on federal spending and revenues, the national debt, and the deficit are going nowhere in the next few years. There will be no big deals, possibly no small deals and fiscal policy is going to continue to be net negative for the U.S. economy.

It also means:

1. Annual sequesters for 2014 - 2017 are far more likely than anyone has yet admitted. The activities of both military and domestic departments and agencies will be under significant pressure over the next four years. Expect continued reduced services, more furloughs, less federal employment and decreased agency effectiveness. Also expect increased spending on bad situations -- natural as well as man-made -- caused by a growing federal inability to prevent disasters.

2. As I've said before, comprehensive tax reform is not likely until the end of this decade.

3. There is no more than a 10 percent chance of getting a budget resolution conference report, that is, an agreement between the House and Senate on the appropriate fiscal policy for the coming year until at least the next president takes office. And 10 percent may even be a reach.

4. Multiple yearly fights over continuing resolutions and debt ceiling increases will be the norm. It may not be called a fiscal cliff or -- my preference -- "#cliffgate," but the last-minute, year-end legislative games of chicken should now be expected and planned for.

This is happening because the House GOP sees doing anything else as hurting its  chances of staying in the majority.

This is the (perhaps) unintended consequence of the redistricting that occurred after the 2010 census. Rather than increase the number of congressional districts they could win, the House GOP strategy was to reinforce the likelihood that existing Republican districts would stay Republican. To do this they made each GOP-controlled district more red and less blue.

It's worked as planned. Even with the record-low job approval rating for Congress as a whole and House Republicans in particular, the House GOP majority now appears to be very secure through at least the first election after the next redistricting in 2022.

But the electoral benefits have also had an extraordinarily negative impact on the ability of House Republicans to legislate. Most GOP representatives are not worried about losing their seat to a Democrat in the general election; they are instead most concerned about getting a primary challenge from another Republican. To avoid that the GOP incumbent has to play to those who vote in the GOP primaries and that group tends to be far more fiscally conservative -- radically more fiscally conservative is actually a more accurate description -- than those who vote in the general.

In other words, to keep their power House Republicans have to play to a very different target audience than both their GOP Senate counterparts and Republican presidential wannabes who typically need independents and some Democrats to get elected.

This is not just a theory; we've seen the implications of this extraordinary internal Republican political conflicts many times in recent months.

For example, House Republicans were more than happy to score political points with their primary voters by insisting on the "No Budget No Pay" provisions earlier this year because, they said, they wanted to force the Senate to pass a budget resolution, something that was a red-meat issue for GOP primary voters.

But once the Senate passed a budget resolution, House Republicans have been completely unwilling to go to conference with Senate Democrats because they might be forced to compromise on spending and revenues, and that's something their compromise-is-a-sin voters won't like.

The result? No budget resolution, no reconciliation, no deal on the deficit or debt, and very serious procedural and political problems with the fiscal 2014 appropriations that need to be in place by October 1 to avoid a government shutdown.

It's hard to see how this changes any time soon because the only-primary-voters-can-eliminate-our-majority thinking that's so prevalent among House Republicans will continue until (1) they get swept out of office in a wave election or (2) there's a new redistricting. Given that the first isn't predicted any time soon and the second won't happen for nine years, it's likely to be a long while before House Republicas do anything that makes it easier for a GOP candidate to get elected president, or for the budget debate to produce a serious agreement.

 

Why do House Republican hold a majority of the seats

I agree with everything you say. I'm confused, though, about the arithmetic. If current districting make House Republican seats solidly red then why are there so many of them -- unless the majority of US voters want them that way? The only answer I can see is that the House Democratic seats must be even more solidly blue -- thereby stuffing so many Democratic voters in Democratic seats that the House isn't representative of the country.

The recent election seems to support that position. Wasn't it the case that Democrats overall got more House votes than Republicans? That must mean that redistricting made House Democratic seats even more one-sided than House Republican seats. Is that a correct way to look at it? And if so, why don't we hear about House Democrats being even more stubborn than House Republicans?


Gerrymandering matters.

" The only answer I can see is that the House Democratic seats must be even more solidly blue -- thereby stuffing so many Democratic voters in Democratic seats that the House isn't representative of the country."

This is the correct answer, and it's easily seen by analyzing just a few states.

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-11-13/opinions/35506182_1_democr...

Consider Pennsylvania, where President Obama won 52 percent of the votes cast, and Democratic Sen. Bob Casey defeated his Republican rival, 53 percent to 45 percent. Yet Democrats won just five of that state’s 18 U.S. House seats. They carried both districts in the Philadelphia area — by 85 percent and 89 percent, respectively — and three other districts, by 77, 69 and 61 percent. Of the 13 districts where Republicans prevailed, GOP candidates won seven with less than 60 percent of the vote; in only one district did the Republican candidate’s total exceed 65 percent of the votes cast.
[...]
So it went in several other swing states. Obama won Ohio by two points, and Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown won by five, but Democrats emerged with just four of Ohio’s 16 House seats.

In Wisconsin, Obama prevailed by seven points, and Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin by five, but their party finished with just three of the state’s eight House seats.

In Virginia, Obama and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine were clear victors, but Democrats won just three of the commonwealth’s 11 House seats. In Florida, Obama eked out a victory and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson won by 13 points, but Democrats will hold only 10 of the Sunshine State’s 27 House seats.


House GOP Doesn't Care About A Republican White House In 2016

If these "red meat Republican primary voters" are so radically fiscally conservative, why they did the House R's vote out a farm bill with massive ag subsidies????? I would call their radical fiscal conservativism somewhat selective in its application.


So the "third party" that

So the "third party" that this country needs is simply the moderates of both parties, but especially the Rs, to vote in primary elections.


The question will be if the Hastert Rule survives

The next test will be the coming face-off on raising the debt limit. But as 2016 approaches the GOP establishment will be more and more pressured to form a "coalition of the pragmatists" in the House.

It's been obvious that the Grand Sequester was the Grand Bargain on the budget, and there will be nothing but little tweaks around the edges of it for the foreseeable future.


GOP strategy

One election at a time.
The House GOP believes that they are right and eventually the public will catch up to them and love them.
The egotism is awesome to behold.
I have been to meetings where the candidates spew utter nonsense (I want to see the budget at 2001 spending levels) and no one will stand up to them. They are too polite.


One election at a time. The

One election at a time.
The House GOP believes that they are right and eventually the public will catch up to them and love them.


House gop

If these "red meat Republican primary voters" are so radically fiscally conservative, why they did the House R's vote out a farm bill with massive ag subsidies????? I would call their radical fiscal conservativism somewhat selective in its application.
thanks for the info .
furniture jepara




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