Neera Tanden is president and chief executive of the Center for American Progress, where Ruy Teixeira and John Halpin are senior fellows.
It is not surprising that House Republicans have chosen to embrace sequestration’s arbitrary reductions and promote even harsher cuts to government health and education services. Reducing government’s size has been the central goal of the conservative coalition in Congress for at least a decade.
But the so-called sequester may well be the beginning of the end of the budget wars that have long gripped Washington, because Republicans may soon face an electoral reckoning they cannot overcome. The rising coalition of African Americans, Latinos, Asians, women and young people that helped reelect President Obama does not share the anti-government sentiment of the conservative base. Time is running out for those on the right who are seeking to slash the size of government.
Far from reviling government as a wasteful colossus whose size must be reduced as fast as possible, voters in this emerging coalition see the federal government as a vital institution whose role in solving problems should be enhanced. As their numbers continue to increase, our political conversation will shift from whether government has a role to play toward debate about how its role should be performed. The unstoppable demographic revolution in U.S. politics means this game-changer looms in the very near future.