Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

You know a strategy has become politically toxic when the actual candidates up for election avoid it like the plague. That is what happened in Virginia where the gubernatorial race is taking place this November. From Politico:

In the clearest sign yet of the potent effect of the government shutdown on the Virginia governor’s race, Republican Ken Cuccinelli avoided being photographed with Ted Cruz at a gala they headlined here Saturday night—even leaving before the Texas senator rose to speak.

Backstage, a source said, Cuccinelli urged Cruz to work with Democrats to end the federal shutdown. But he did not make that point, or even acknowledge Cruz, in short public comments to some 1,100 social conservatives.

Since the Republicans started this shutdown the public opinion about the party has dropped. State level Republican candidates are going out of their way to distance themselves from this strategy. They are now losing the national generic ballot badly and the GOP appears to be in trouble in enough swing districts that it could cost them the House.

Of course, somehow Congressional Republicans still think this entire situation gives them leverage. Republicans expect Democrats to give them big concessions in exchange for the Republican party agreeing to stop destroying the Republican brand.

Photo by Gage Skidmore under Creative Commons license