Posted by Curt on 2 May, 2013 at 10:42 pm. 1 comment.

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David Freddoso @ Conservative Intelligence Briefing:

Charlie Cook looks today at the difference between voters who are spooked about the economy, and those who aren’t, and what sort of electorate is going to show up in 2014:

When the economy is good and improving, voters typically have one mind-set; when it is bad and getting worse, voters are in a different state of mind. When Americans feel they’re getting ahead economically, that’s one thing; when they feel they are either falling behind or just can’t get ahead, they view things—including their political leaders—very differently…We don’t have a sense yet what the zeitgeist will be next year, what people will be thinking and worried about, or whom they will be grateful to or mad at. In a period of divided government and in the absence of a partisan wave, an improving economy might well result in more of a typical, all-politics-is-local election, the kind we haven’t seen since 2004.

The short take on Cook’s column is that Obama has a fighting chance of gaining ground in Congress (or not losing too much ground, anyway) if he somehow avoids the “bad-economy-angry-beehive” electorate. He wants an electorate that votes on other issues (like Bush got in 2004), and he’s hoping immigration and guns will do the job for him. (I think his hopes are misplaced, given the turf that most competitive House and Senate elections will be fought on.)

Alternatively, there’s no way Obama avoids the blame if the economy remains bad in his sixth year in office. So far, so good for the GOP.

But the real question is, if the angry beehive does show up, will Republicans have by then put themselves  in a position to cash in? Because they really, really need to cash in. Yes, the GOP is likely to gain Senate seats in 2014 almost no matter what, but small gains will not be sufficient if Republicans want to show they’re still a competitive party that can win elections and govern.

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