Despite President Barack Obama’s proclamation that Democrats should proudly embrace Obamacare, the New York Times says “those in his party are running from it rather than on it” heading into the Nov. 4 midterm elections.
Even Obama’s chief strategist, David Axelrod, begrudgingly concedes Obamacare presents a major electoral challenge for Democrats.
“The angry opponents are more mobilized than the beneficiaries,” said Axelrod. “I think it is viewed more as a social welfare program than a social insurance program, but that’s not right because it is social insurance.”
The Times notes that Social Security and Medicare are viewed differently from Obamacare because in those programs “everyone who benefits paid something into the system.” Voters like Judy McDaniel say they have a problem with supporting Obamacare’s redistributive structure.
“I’ve been lucky enough in my career to afford my own insurance, and I’m not sure how I feel about supporting others,” McDaniel told the Times.
Exacerbating Democrats’ Obamacare woes is the fact that trust in government has declined precipitously since the creation of older government programs.
Whether Democrats embrace Obamacare before the midterm elections remains to be seen. For now, however, many are running from the President’s signature policy achievement. One Democratic member of Congress told the Times that Obama has become “poisonous” for Democrats. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) says her constituents are “frustrated and embarrassed” by Hawaii’s failed Obamacare exchange. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) said last week Democrats “will lose seats in the House” and “may lose the Senate… primarily because of health care.” For that reason, top Democratic pollsters are counseling Democratic candidates to steer clear of the unpopular Obamacare program.
The RealClearPolitics average of polls finds that fewer than 40% of Americans support Obamacare.
Voters head to the polls in 198 days.