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Republican Party extremists are giving Democrats an opportunity. They want to nullify the 2012 elections and force President Obama and Democrats to end the Affordable Care Act and implement a hard-right agenda by holding our government and our economy hostage, despite polling data that show most Americans do not want the GOP’s agenda, and that more voters will blame Republicans than President Obama and Democrats for the shutdown and debt ceiling fallout. David Frum offers three reasons that will hurt the current standoff will hurt the GOP … and I wish it were that simple.

But it isn’t. We’re used to thinking of the Republican Party as beholden to Wall Street, the Chamber of Commerce, and other big business interests. And those are still important GOP constituencies. But billionaire-funded conservative groups like the Club for Growth, the Heritage Foundation, and FreedomWorks have convinced many Republicans that they can defeat incumbents who don’t toe the Tea Party line. Most Republicans fear losing to a more radical Republican in a primary far more than they fear losing to a Democrat … especially in what they expect to be a low-turnout, midterm election.

The only way to change that political calculus is for grassroots Democratic activists to treat the 2014 midterms like a presidential election. We must be as organized and energized and get out the vote in 2014. If we do that, we can take back the U.S. House and our state governments, and marginalize the Tea Party. If we don’t, they will take the 2014 midterm as proof that their radical base really is the only constituency they need to care about … and our government will remain broken.

Republicans are giving us an opportunity. But to seize that opportunity, we’ll have to be more organized, more disciplined, and work harder than ever before.