Is House Republicans’ electoral invulnerability actually a liability for the national party? From TPM Reader JB …
I have read some recent stuff on Dave Weigel’s website and others showing that the Dems would need a 7%+ win in the popular vote to achieve a majority in the house as a result of the impressive gerrymander in 2010. Couple that with the correct observation by many that the majority of Republican house members fear a primary far more than a general election contest and you have structural support for the rapid run into irrelevance.
The gerrymander may have preserved house control for now, but it is forcing an abdication from the mainstream market of ideas by the republican party. Indeed, as the nation’s median voter moves ever more progressive or moderate, the Republican party in the house must move ever rightward to prevent being primaried.
A symptom of this effect is the outcome of the senate elections in the last couple of cycles. As the base becomes ever more inward facing and extreme, the non-house candidates begin to lose the ability to compete in the idea marketplace. Akin’s mistake was only saying out loud what was well accepted by most dedicated republican primary voter. One can intuit that separation with McConnell’s understanding that a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff was necessary to avoid a further drop in national party popularity. So we have come to a point where house republican electoral strategy has solidified their hold for now but has also made more likely the loss of close senate seats and the Presidential vote.
My bet is that these divisions between the House and the rest of the Republican establishment will become targets for the Obama administration with its push on immigration and assault weapons.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.