The shutdown fight is over. The media is claiming a debacle for the Republicans. Back here at home, what are the implications for the upcoming Congressional race in the 52nd district (CA52)?
So that ended badly. I’ll probably tune out the news for the next few days as the liberal revelry with be loud and nauseating. What happened? For the last few months the Democrats were imploding with the AP Flap, NSA, Syria blunder, and the impeding messy start of the Affordable Care Act (LINK). Then Senator Cruz made a Spartan stand to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that many people said wouldn’t happen with this stand-off. I wrote earlier that policies can’t just be ideas but they actually have to have quantifiable goals (LINK). Some pundits are saying that is what happened with the GOP over the last two weeks – that this fight was about anger against Obama and/or the ACA with no achievable goal. Sen. Cruz may be a passionate speaker but I don’t think he’s ruled by emotions. Yes, the GOP may have taken a hit in the polls and now the talk is of a civil war in the Republican Party between the “Tea Party” and the “Establishment” (LINK). Yes, Obamacare’s terrible start slipped to the back page probably saving it. But overall, Cruz came out a winner (LINK). He has anchored himself with the Right and for 2016 that’s where he needs to be. In the last two presidential races the GOP tried to run centrists like McCain and Romney who started from the middle, moved right for the primary, then tried to go back to the middle again for the general election. It’s confusing to voters and donors and a losing strategy. For Cruz to stand as the Right’s front-runner and then wave off centrists challengers will give him the leeway to soften his tone (but not his stances) for 2016’s general election. It may work and be a surprise for Hillary who seems to have a blindspot for insurgencies (LINK).
So Cruz is a winner in this, despite the GOP brand getting hurt nationally and Obamacare surviving, but what does it mean for CA52? The redder Congressional Districts are still secure but the contested ones may not be. For CA52, 2014 was looking to be a race about Syria and Obamacare before this. Of course the election is still a ways off, but Scott Peters is sure to use the shutdown now. Carl DeMaio’s reputation is built on being a tough fiscal fighter. It doesn’t take much imagination to see that Peters will twist that attribute to make him look like a “shutdown extremist” in my moderate district. For Kirk Jorgenson, less emphasis on Syria and Obamacare takes out his strong suits. But this doesn’t have to be a killer for GOP challengers. It’s tough to run against the national GOP image so our candidates need to get in front of it. For DeMaio, this means he has to propose a reform that will prevent future shutdowns but also correct the worst parts of Obamacare that the Democrats can’t defend. For Jorgenson, likewise a proposal will help but he needs to show how he has the clout to deliver it.
CA52 is part of the greater fight for the House in 2014 and a lot can happen between now and the election. Will the shutdown still be an issue? Share your thoughts!