I am not optimistic that the U. S. will be able to avoid hitting the bottom of the fiscal cliff.
After the U. S. election, many on the hard right of the Republican party were simply unwilling to accept that Obama won the Presidency. I’m sure you’ve seen lots of reports of such reactions.
You find this attitude particularly in House districts which are overwhelmingly Republican. In one article Nate Silver looked at the increasing partisanship in House districts and in another, how difficult it will be for Democrats to pick up the number of seats in 2014 they’ll need to have a majority.
Bottom line, there are 191 Republican House seats where if the member wants to win again and not loose the nomination in the primaries, he or she must do their all to obstruct any and everything proposed by the President. Having the country go into crisis serves as “payback” for the election of Barack Obama.
There are 435 seats in the House, with the Democrats holding 201 and the Republicans 234. It is highly unlikely that 17 Republicans in “swing” districts will be willing to risk their nomination in the Primary. However, they are in a double bind – if they side with the nihilists, they will loose the general election.
That’s a big if – the minority turnout in the Presidential election has a history of not showing up in the off year elections. The Democrats could even loose seats.
So, it is highly likely that the U. S. is in for some difficult months. Are the hard right Republicans willing to push the country into a recession? Maybe. In normal course of things, this might encourage a “wave” that puts the Democrats in a majority.
What would make even more sense is to use the “ground game” organization from 2012 in the midterms. There are some legal problems with this, but it might be doable.