June 10, 2023

Democrats in Disarray: Party Frightened, Fractured Over Obamacare

The magnitude of Obamacare’s failure is becoming increasingly clear every day. Enrollment rates and demographics are weak. Central promises have been shattered. Affordability remains elusive for millions. Costs for families, small businesses and the federal government are going up. And the uninsured aren’t participating. In spite of a parade of delays and “fixes,” Reeling from a bellwether special election loss, Democrats find themselves right back where they were in late 2013: Panicked over their poisonous signature law. Back then, they tried to blame “glitches” in the rollout. The problems that persist today cut to the heart of the law itself. How will Democrats spin Obamacare heading into November? They’ve devolved from vowing to proudly run on Obamacare, to focusing on making needed changes to the law, to…chaotic disagreement. Politico reports:

Democrats can’t even agree whether Obamacare was the reason for their crushing loss in a Florida special election Tuesday. Now picture how their messaging plan for the health care law is shaping up for 2014. Republican lobbyist David Jolly’s victory over Democrat Alex Sink has many Democrats privately worried and publicly split about how to talk about Obamacare. A few Democrats are advocating a drastic rhetorical shift to the left, by criticizing their own party for not going far enough when it passed the law in 2010. Other Democrats plan to sharply criticize the Affordable Care Act when running for re-election. Many plan to stick to the simple message that Obamacare is flawed and needs to be fixed —a tactic that plainly didn’t work for Sink. Taken together, the Democratic Party is heading into an already tough election year divided — instead of united — on the very issue Republicans plan to make central to their campaigns.

Pro tip: Messaging isn’t the problem. Among the Democrats with the most to lose in November is a trio of vulnerable southern Senators: Kay Hagan, Mary Landrieu and Mark Pryor. Hagan has literally fled Obamacare questions, Landrieu is on record saying that she is “100 percent” responsible for the law, which Mark Pryor called an “amazing success story.” Rattled by how badly his “success story” is proceeding, Pryor is running an erratic campaign. He accidentally touted his opponent’s website at a press conference on Medicare (which he repeatedly voted to cut in order to pay for Obamacare), and bizarrely accused his Republican foe of feeling “entitled” to his seat due to his military service, or something. That, coming from a career politician who used his family’s prominent political name to get elected. Americans for Prosperity has launched a $700,000 television ad buy in Arkansas targeting Pryor for misleading his constituents about keeping their existing health coverage:

It’s time to add Wanda’s name to Harry Reid’s ever-expanding roster of “liars.” A recent poll showed Pryor trailing Tom Cotton by nine points among Arkansas’ likeliest voters.