Declaring an Emergency Would Be a Loss, Not a Win

But taking away disaster-relief money? We have no idea what kind of electoral effect that would have because no president has ever done anything that stupid. (Okay, I can think of one possible equivalent, President Jimmy Carter’s ill-fated grain embargo before the 1980 election. It’s hard to say how much that hurt him, but emulating Carter’s famous mistakes really isn’t something to be proud of.) Let’s just say that if there’s anything voters might remember that long and actually punish above and beyond their normal voting behavior it would be taking away tangible benefits from them in a time of need. … That’s all on top of an unpopular shutdown over an unpopular policy by an unpopular president.

Jonathan Bernstein

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