The two big questions after the 2012 election were would the Republican Party change its agenda to keep up with changes in the electorate, and would they stop living in their own world separate from facts and common sense.
The answers are both in: No, and no. Republicans in the House blocked immigration reform, which should keep Latinos voting for Democrats in 2014 and probably 2016. And the same epistemic closure that caused Republicans to believe that Mitt Romney would win in a landslide is still present today and dictating policy in the House of Representatives.
It didn’t matter how many polls showed that Mitt Romney had no path to victory last year, or how many political science experts said he was going to lose. If reality didn’t tell the GOP what they wanted to hear, then reality was a lie, and only the GOP knew the truth about it all.
That delusional behavior hasn’t changed. The GOP will end up causing a government shutdown that they themselves didn’t see coming because of the same miscalculations that lead Mitt Romney to campaign in unwinnable Pennsylvania while Florida slipped away by less than a point.
Because the GOP didn’t learn its lessons from 2012, it probably won’t learn them from the 2013 GOP shutdown either. That doesn’t bode well for Republicans in 2014 and 2016. A lengthy government shutdown could put the House in play next year, and there will be more Republican Senate seats than Dem seats opening up in 2016 for the first time in three elections, a trend that will continue for several more elections after that. Hillary Clinton on the ballot in 2016 will only make that worse for Republicans.
This isn’t the last chance the GOP will have to repeal Obamacare, it’s the last chance they’ve got to avoid political suicide.