Most pundits and political professionals expect the GOP to have a good showing in the midterm elections. Historically, the opposition picks up seats in the 6th year of a President's tenure. Obama's approval ratings are at rock bottom and the ObamaCare rollout continues to cause headaches for Democrats. A number of incumbent Senators, who last won during Obama's wave election in 2008, face heavy headwinds in enough states to give Republicans control.
Yet, the GOP could still pull defeat from the jaws of victory. There are three very real risks that could jeopardize the party's potential gains. Unfortunately, the party seems to have set in motion at least one of them.
1. Alienate Conservative Voters.
Republicans in Washington are convinced the party needs to keep Tea Party conservatives "in line." Speaker Boehner won plaudits from the DC consultant class when he loudly criticized conservatives who were critical of a budget deal that increased spending. The US Chamber of Commerce has pledged to spend $50 million targeting conservatives in Republican primaries, including sitting members of Congress.
Much of this bluster by the political class is to distract from their epic failure in 2012. It was the second presidential election where the party nominated the more "moderate", electable candidate, only to see millions of conservative voters stay home on election. Party consultants spent nearly $1 billion and lost numerous winnable seats. The consultants want to blame conservatives, but far more establishment candidates went down to uninspiring defeat.