Following a crushing loss in a Florida special election on Tuesday, Democrats facing elections in 2014 are trying to figure out if the defeat was a referendum on Obamacare. And unable to agree on a unified messaging plan, members of the party’s leadership are publicly doubling down on support for Obamacare, as vulnerable Democrats facing November elections duck for cover.
On Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) used her press briefing as an opportunity to make excuses for Republican David Jolly’s win over Democrat Alex Sink in Florida this week.
“The fact that it is an off-year election — in other words, a non-presidential year — and a special election is like a double-whammy in terms of reducing turnout,” she said.
In November, according to Pelosi, Democrats are counting on turnout from a broader swath of the American public who likely support Obamacare.
“We feel confident about the fuller participation in November, and what that will mean for that election,” she said.
While Pelosi told a reporter that Democrats should “absolutely not” shy away from conversations on Obamacare leading up to the elections, she said that the President’s healthcare law isn’t going to provide fodder for Republicans.
“I think the Republicans are wasting their time using that as their electoral issue, and they will find that out,” she said.
Pelosi said that Obamacare is a waste of time for the GOP because Americans will further embrace the law as they fully recognize the benefits.
Some observers, however, have noted that the Democrats are also testing a plan to take the focus off of Obamacare. By making public attempts to shift focus to tired memes like the GOP “war on women” and holding sideshow events like the phony climate change filibuster earlier this week in the Senate, some Democrats hope to bring out more pet issue voters for 2014.
Those who aren’t running distraction for the Democratic Party seem to be spending much of their time running from reporters.
In a POLITICO piece earlier this week, reporters revealed the lengths to which some Democrats are going to avoid Obamacare:
Vulnerable members of the president’s party appeared to run from questions about it Wednesday.
Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) — one of the Senate’s most vulnerable incumbents — twice waved off a reporter’s questions. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who will likely face GOP Rep. Cory Gardner in November, said he would prefer to answer a reporter’s question by phone to offer a “coherent” response. But his aides did not later make him available for an interview.
Party leaders continue to advise Democratic candidates to go against their better judgment, saying that defending the President and running on Obamacare is a winning strategy. Meanwhile, even pundit Chris Mathews has lost the tingle in his leg.
“It’s going to be very hard to hold the Senate — I think the Senate goes,” he said on “Morning Joe” Thursday. “I think we heard from the Ghost of Christmas Future this week; they’re going to lose the Senate.”