Democratic Strategy for 2014 Elections: Focus on Obamacare
With the upcoming mid-term elections, Democratic politicians are in their usual predicament: Voters agree with them on most of the issues, but they're more likely to vote for the Republican candidate instead. Yes it sucks, but what're you gonna do?
At a recent three-day retreat for Democratic VIPs, Joe Biden told the audience:
“On every major issue, the American people agree with the Democratic Party. I can't think of a time when the issues that most affect the American people, most affect the middle class, overwhelmingly, overwhelmingly, they support us.”
He's right. Income inequality, a higher minimum wage, infrastructure spending, gun control, immigration reform, abortion, same-sex marriage — for that matter, the entire rightwing Biblehump agenda that Republicans keep trotting out — the public is with the Democrats on all of these issues. That and four dollars will get you a cappuccino at Starbucks.
If agreeing with the public on the issues was any sort of guarantee, the Democrats would be assured of winning the House and strengthening their control of the Senate this November. And Jimmy Carter would have trounced Ronald Reagan in 1980.
A Republican consultant responded to Biden's comments with:
“Biden's comments reflect a 50,000-foot view rather than political realities on the ground in key states that will determine control of the Senate.”
He's absolutely right, like it or not.
In a recent survey, 52% of the public named the Affordable Care Act — whether pro or con — as the most important issue. Therefore, what should the Democrats be focusing on?
Obamacare. This is what Democratic candidates need to talk about — the Affordable Care Act, with all its good and bad points. Talk about the millions of previously uninsured Americans who finally have health insurance; people with pre-existing conditions who, for the first time in their lives, can NOT be turned down by an insurance company. Insurance companies are no longer allowed to cancel your coverage AFTER you've gotten sick. Talk about this! Shout it from the rooftops.
And since millions of voters are pissed off about Obamacare — acknowledge this. Listen to their complaints and explain how it happened and what you'll do (or have done) to fix the problem.
The GOP is planning to sweep the 2014 election by hammering away at Obamacare — the millions of glitches and crashes, people's genuine fears of losing their current coverage or having to pay more for less coverage, the evils of socialized medicine, etc. Democrats can NOT let the Republicans frame this debate.
If the Democrats try to avoid talking about Obamacare and instead just bask in the glow of “the public is with us on the issues” — we're looking at a Republican Senate next year.