Some Democrats argue that it would provide huge motivation for their party’s voters, who historically have been less likely to turn out for midterm elections than presidential ones. A shutdown, they say, would fire up liberals across the country who might check out without President Barack Obama on the ballot…

A repeat of that, say Democrats, would give their candidates potent ammunition to attack Republicans as uncompromising and dysfunctional. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has sent out a batch of press releases labeling a possible fiscal crisis “Tom Cotton’s government shutdown,” in reference to the freshman Republican House member who just announced he is running for Senate next year.

“I think a government shutdown would change things dramatically,” said Ali Lapp, who heads up a House Democratic super PAC. “It would be a pretty big movement going in favor in Democrats.”