Sequestration is here and it raises interesting questions about the political consequences for Republicans and Democrats in 2014 and 2016. Among them is which party gets the blame and which party gets the benefits from the political decisions made now and during the next three years. For Democrats, the answers to these questions could mean the difference betweeen victory and defeat in upcoming national elections.
Will Sequestration and Austerity Hurt The Economy?
This is an important question that both parties face as the effects of budget cuts amounting to $85 billion this year take effect. A majority of economists believe that sequestration will cut government spending by enough to send the US economy back into recession. If true the odds become interesting for who gets blame. Since Republican refused to face another tax increase, the blame may fall on them. The continuance of their party of “NO” strategy could further alienate voters and strengthen the President’s support base. If that happens look for Democrats down ticket to benefit. A broken congress will be a strong talking point for democrats looking to regain control of the House in 2016.
What If Sequestration Ends Up Being A Good Idea After All?
To be fair, markets reached record highs on March 5. This seems to be Wall Streets vote on the effects of sequestration. If it doesn’t hurt the economy it can still be a big win for Democrats. The reason is one brought up by Ezra Klein in his wonkblog. That fact is that the president’s deals including sequestration, will represent $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade. This is important because many economists agree that this target amount will help stabilize US debt. For Democrats, it strengthens their credentials as supporting reduced debt and controlled spending. It also takes away the Republicans’ biggest talking point. (Which still lost them the White House)
What A Win Means in Either Scenario
Sequestration can yield a bigger return in advancing policy for the White House and Democrats in congress. The more effective the President and his party appear the more support and leverage they have to pursue other policy goals. This means the president and the Democratic party can start the important work of building their case for the 2014 and 2016 elections. Either way this is just one step among several Democrats must take to safely win the upcoming election and new political fights such as immigration and other issues may shape the political landscape in a more direct manner.