When Republican insiders began to fret that there was a chance they could lose their majority earlier this summer, they were afraid their party would descend into chaos over the fall.
They got something worse: an incredibly weak Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) wound up being rolled over by Ted Cruz and his Suicide Caucus friends in the House of Representatives into a 16-day government shutdown that ended with the Tea Party’s demands being completely rejected.
Of course, the GOP should not be worrying about losing its majority. Historically, the party out of power nearly always loses seats during a president’s sixth year in office and the GOP’s embrace of austerity has kept any recovery tepid at best. Republicans believed for a few months that the IRS and Benghazi “scandals” would destroy President Obama, but then became distracted by the doomed campaign to defund the Affordable Care Act.
There’s really only one reason Republicans could now actually lose the House — the government shutdown.
All of the reasons that follow are the result of the decision of the House Republicans — led by Cruz and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) — to shutter the government and demand concessions to reopen it and raise the debt limit. This decision, and the rift it exacerbated between the GOP establishment and the Tea Party. Republican leaders are having a difficult time recognizing that the Tea Party now represents the majority of GOP primary voters, and the Tea Party is refusing to reconcile its limited power with its demands to stop Obamacare now.
As a result, House Republicans are now in big trouble.
Here are five reasons why a Democratic takeover of the House is now more likely — thanks to the government shutdown.