Government shutdown: Why many Republicans have no reason to deal – Alex Isenstadt – POLITICO.com

4
Oct

Government shutdown: Why many Republicans have no reason to deal – Alex Isenstadt – POLITICO.com

Most of the Republicans digging in have no reason to fear voters will ever punish them for it.

The vast majority of GOP lawmakers are safely ensconced in districts that, based on the voter rolls, would never think of electing a Democrat. Their bigger worry is that someone even more conservative than they are — bankrolled by a cadre of uncompromising conservative groups — might challenge them in a primary.

So from the standpoint of pure political survival, there’s every incentive to keep the government closed in what looks like a futile protest over Obamacare. The latest theory gaining currency in Congress is that it will take a potential default on the nation’s debt in a few weeks to bring the crisis to a head.

Just look at the ringleaders of the defund-Obamacare effort in the House: Georgia Rep. Tom Graves, a Tea Party Caucus member, represents a district where Obama won just a quarter of the vote. Fewer than two in five voters in Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie’s district backed the president for reelection. And Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador, a poster child of the conservative Club for Growth, is in a district where Obama got just 32 percent.

“Why is it us [that has] to give up the fight? How about we actually negotiate?” asked GOP Rep. Markwayne Mullin, who represents an east Oklahoma district where Obama received 32 percent.

The congressional map is far more gerrymandered today than it was 17 years ago during the last shutdown, when House Speaker Newt Gingrich was negotiating with President Bill Clinton. According to David Wasserman, who analyzes House races for the Cook Political Report, 79 of the 236 House Republicans serving during the last shutdown resided in districts that Clinton won in 1992. Today, just 17 of the 232 House Republicans are in districts that Obama won in 2012.

“Is redistricting a big deal in the sense that there is a greater threat from a primary than a general election? The answer to that is yes,” said David Winston, a Republican pollster and adviser to Boehner. “It’s clearly an element.”

via Government shutdown: Why many Republicans have no reason to deal – Alex Isenstadt – POLITICO.com.

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