Having said that, assuming that sequestration kicks in, with $85 billion in mandatory budget cuts pretty much across the board—exempting only Social Security, Medicaid, and, to a lesser extent, Medicare, and disproportionately hitting defense—many Americans will begin to feel some inconvenience after a few days, and a few will feel real pain. It’s only when, or if, it persists for a week or more and affects more people that impatience and annoyance will turn into anger, then rage. At that point, it becomes difficult to know whether voters will still vent these emotions exclusively at Republicans. Democrats will likely get tarnished as well, with voters echoing Mercutio’s call for “a plague on both your houses.”

We live in a period when politicians tend to see the world in a binary fashion; everything is either a one or a zero, and there is a clear winner and a clear loser in every situation. But with the sequester, at least after the first few days, it’s possible that both sides could lose, that people won’t distinguish between Democrats or Republicans but will instead excoriate “those politicians in Washington” as a whole.