Is Obamacare a Liability for Democrats?
With midterm elections coming at a time of mass disapproval of Congress, both sides of the aisle are scrambling for seats. Part of this scramble involves those running for election or re-election deciding how to present their positions on current issues. For Democrats, hoping to protect their seats or gain some, they want to leave talk of Obamacare in the past.
According to The Cook Political Report, Democrats are still in danger — especially in many classically conservative states — for their support of Obamacare. The discussion of whether candidates should be touching the topic was ignited by an ad from Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas), which told Pryor’s personal story of having cancer and alluded to the benefits of Obamacare.
Pryor doesn’t even say “Obamacare” — he references support for a law he helped pass that “prevents insurance companies from canceling your policy if you get sick or deny coverage for pre-existing conditions,” the classic buzz-phrases of the Affordable Care Act.
“It’s basically the first pro-Obamacare ad we’ve seen by a vulnerable Democrat for months,” said Elizabeth Wilner, senior vice president of Kantar Media Ad Intelligence, to The Washington Post. “It’s like seeing a unicorn – it just doesn’t happen very often.”
Many Americans are turned off mostly by the term “Obamacare,” which connotes all the controversy of passing the law and the bungled enrollment process, whether or not they support or can see the benefits of universal health care.
A Democratic strategist who wished to remain anonymous told The Washington Post that Democrats by and large do not want to be in the position of running their race on Obamacare. The fact that there’s so much buzz about an ad that doesn’t even name Obamacare makes this clear. And some Democrats are even going on the offensive. In May, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-North Carolina) ran an anti-Obamacare ad, attacking Republican opponent Thom Tillis for previously supporting Obamacare.
Perhaps it’s best for Democrats’ chances to distance themselves from the Obamacare issue. On the flip side, Republicans are happily still using Obamacare as a talking point in campaigning. Wilner told The Washington Post that nineteen new anti-Obamacare ads were released just in the last week.