The 2014 election season kicks into high gear tomorrow with primary votes in key senate and gubernatorial races across the country.
Over the next 24 hours Republican candidates will ramp up their right wing rhetoric in hopes of appeasing the conservative base and securing their party’s nomination. Democrats will be watching and taking notes. “Don’t tread on me” rhetoric works well in Republican primaries. But conservatives generally find themselves moving to a more centrist position in the general election. Democrats will be waiting…eager to use Republicans own words against them. (See Mitt “I am a severe conservative” Romney in the last presidential contest.)
Mitch McConnell, who is facing a primary challenge from the right, has been banging his “Just say no” drum with increased fervor over the past several months. His conservative mantra has given him a comfortable 20 point lead over Tea Party challenger Matt Bevin. But obstructionist tactics don’t play as well with the masses. McConnell finds himself trailing his presumed Democrat opponent, Alison Londergan Grimes, in the general.
Tactics are always subject to debate. But there is no question what the key issue will be when voters take to the polls in November. 90% of those recently polled say that health care will be the deciding factor in how they cast their vote.
Republicans interpret these polls to mean that voters oppose the president’s health care law and want to see it repealed. Democrats disagree. These same polls show that the key components of the law are very popular. Democrats feel that while people may not care for all aspects of the law, they prefer to see it fixed…not repealed. Republicans face a hard road convincing voters to put them in power so they can repeal the law when they have no alternative solution to offer. Besides, it’s hard to look voters in the eye and tell them that you don’t want them to have health care.
Which party is right? The stakes are enormous. The winner controls the senate. If Republicans wrest control of the senate from the Democrats the president’s agenda grinds to a halt two years before he leaves office. Presidential appointments, Supreme Court nominees and a large swath of presidential power all must pass through the senate. Without the senate Obama becomes the lamest of ducks and all eyes turn to 2016.
Health care is the key!