Speaking of important elections, it finally occurred to me in preparing my weekly column for TPMCafe that recent developments in Republican-land are making 2016 one of those high-stakes elections the two parties are always calling the next trip to the polls–for real.

I’m increasingly convinced that by the end of the Republican presidential nominating process the candidates will have pressured each other into a Pact of Steel to revoke all of Obama’s executive orders and regulations. The post-2012 GOP plan to quickly implement the Ryan Budget and an Obamacare repeal in a single reconciliation bill will almost certainly be back in play if Republicans win the White House while holding on to Congress. Republicans (with even Rand Paul more or less going along) are all but calling for a re-invasion of Iraq plus a deliberate lurch into a war footing with Iran. And now more than ever, the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court would seem to vary almost 180 degrees based on which party will control the next couple of appointments.

These are all topics on which big things might be done or undone without the kind of large, filibuster-proof “trifecta” majority Democrats so briefly held after 2008. So yeah, much as we are all tempted–usually with great justification–to dismiss any one election as a big, big deal, 2016 will almost certainly be an exception.

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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.