Over at TPM Cafe I did a column that pulls together several themes I’ve been writing about here: among others, the GOP’s consistent choice of short-term over long-term strategies; the major landscape differences between 2014 and 2016; and the strong possibility that the 2016 Republican presidential field will be as big a mess as the 2012 clown show.

This last thought is one I’m really beginning to ponder. I’m convinced John McCain’s nomination in 2008 and Mitt Romney’s in 2012 were both somewhat fortuitous, based on a demolition derby of rivals. The odds of the most “electable” candidate winning the nomination for a third time in a row seem less than outstanding, particularly if Republicans come out of 2014 thinking some sort of historical shift in their direction is under way that makes electability a far less important quality than ideological reliability.

Everything that boosts GOP over-confidence today can make 2016 another encounter with the unknown in which Republicans cannot understand how and why they are in trouble.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.