Still, this tweet nicely encapsulates matters:
From the people who brought you “The Koch Bros will hurt Republicans in 2014” comes “Attacking @PPAct will hurt Republicans in 2016″
— SunnyRight (@sunnyright) July 31, 2015
With some clarifications, sure. First off: yes, very little that happens with a shutdown in Congress this year will have any effect on the national elections next year. This is, of course, broadly similar to what happened in 2013: everybody who wasn’t part of the Republican grassroots (and a few of them, too) was convinced that the shutdown would do permanent damage to the GOP brand, right up to the point where Obamacare blew up in the missile silo. Technically, something equivalent has not yet happened this year. But something will. Something always will. You can’t subject the populace to a year-plus-long rant about the inequities of the Republican party without said populace eventually tuning it out.
Second: unfortunately, you can’t really count on the Democrats being as dumb in 2015 as they were in 2013 – and they were dumb. Starting with the Democrats not taking the free gift that the GOP had offered them – there’s a bunch of former Senators and governors who wish that they had – and following with not capitalizing on even the transitory advantage the shutdown gave them. At this point somebody’s going to smugly mutter ‘Virginia,’ and I’ll mutter ‘sitting governor obvious en route to being indicted,’ and then we can all pick sides over who to blame in the Virginia gubernatorial election. I will note that, the way things were going, one more week and we would have won that race… which does not suggest that the Democrats really followed through on things. Presumably they’ve learned better. Obviously, it’s great if the Democrats haven’t, but it’s safer to assume that they have.
Third: this year’s races. A shutdown could very well affect the Kentucky gubernatorial race between Matt Bevin and Jack Conway. It probably won’t hurt Mississippi’s, given that Phil Bryant is running for re-election and he’s pretty popular. As for Louisiana’s… are we certain that a Democrat will even survive the jungle primary in the first place? – So if you do favor a shutdown of the government over Planned Parenthood funding, you should also be in favor of making sure that it doesn’t hurt Matt Bevin‘s gubernatorial bid.