This is not a joke or a parody. According to Politico, that is literally the message the Democrats are planning to roll out on the campaign trail this fall. I am not at all kidding.
Democrats know their biggest problem in this year’s midterm election is Obamacare. So top party operatives have settled on a strategy to try blunting the GOP’s advantage: Tell voters Republicans would make the problem worse — raising prescription drug prices, empowering insurance companies and even endangering domestic violence victims.
Let’s pause for just a minute here. It is one thing for the Democrats to have the brass ones to hope people forget that bailing out insurance companies and horse trading with pharma is a central feature of Obamacare – after all, brazen lies and a complete lack of shame are what we have come to expect from Democrats. It is another thing entirely to trot out an attack that a) doesn’t make sense and b) isn’t even connected to health care in the mind of any rational person. I cannot wait to hear the convoluted explanation linking the two that will connect in the minds of average voters.
On one level, you have to give the Democrats credit for the any-port-in-a-storm nature of this particular defense. Especially since there is some evidence that it worked in 2012 – the Obama campaign’s ridiculous sideshow divisiveness on women proved effective in some respects because the Romney campaign did not even deign to acknowledge it. This particular attack, although (unbelievably) even more disconnected from reality than the shrieking over “binders full of women,” is undoubtedly from the same playbook, and one can appreciate the value of sticking with a given play until the opposition stops you.
However, the problem with this particular approach is that the Democrats aren’t in this case running against a candidate they are seeking to define, but rather an issue on which nearly everyone in America has already formed a relatively solid opinion. And even more problematic, those opinions are very very terrible for Democrats. So by saying “people who hate the healthcare law don’t care about battered women,” Democrats are effectively… insulting almost every swing voter by insinuating that they want women to be battered.
In other words, they’re attempting to inflict “male guilt” on the swing voting populace.
Needless to say, this isn’t an approach even the Democrats would be trying if things were not desperate for them right now. This approach is not borne of confidence or vision but rather the stench of desperation at losing the levers of power in DC. But if 2012 taught us anything, it’s that Republicans need to be ready to answer this attack, as silly and as desperate as it is.