For Washington, Nicaragua matters more when it threatens midterms

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Posted in Nicaragua, USA

The crisis in Nicaragua shows no sign of a peaceful resolution causing some international observers, including in the United States, to wonder how a full-blown Nicaraguan civil war might have ripple effects that carry far beyond the borders of the troubled Central American country. With midterms only a few months away in the United States, Republicans and Democrats alike have yet to develop cohesive, party-wide platforms on Danny Ortega’s regime and plans for action aside from an insufficient House resolution in July of this year.

The Nicaraguan political crisis could easily spin so far out of control that it creates a massive refugee crisis at the U.S. border – perhaps even as early as this fall.

And that’s how Nicaraguan unrest could become a major issue during the midterm elections.

For most candidates vying for seats in this year’s midterms, Nicaragua hasn’t been a talking point on the standard stump speech. That could change quickly.

Even in states that do not directly border Mexico, another Nicaraguan civil war and an ensuing refugee crisis could shift the national debate back to border security and immigration reform.

“The political situation in Nicaragua is a pressure cooker, and the lid could blow off at any point,” said Dean Phillips, the Democratic candidate for Congress in Minnesota’s 3rd District. “You don’t need to be an expert on border security to realize that if Nicaragua lapses into civil war, there will be tens of thousands of additional immigrants fleeing north.”

Bradley Honan, a political strategist who worked for Bill and Hillary ClintonMike BloombergTony Blair and others, thinks that Nicaragua is the “October Surprise” that both parties should be preparing to deal with. “The potential for a widespread Nicaraguan refugee crisis on our southern border is the biggest political story that candidates from both political parties need to be paying attention to,” said Honan.

This article commentary originally appeared on CNBC

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