On Tuesday, during a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus predicted that the Republican Party would sweep the midterm elections. The reason for his supreme confidence is he thinks Obamacare will bring Republicans more young and women voters. Apparently, Priebus is drinking the Kool-Aid and believes that Florida’s 13th District special election last week was a referendum on the ACA. Therefore, the only issue the GOP needs to run on is hatred of Obamacare and they will win huge.
Below are his comments from the breakfast:
“I think we’re in for a tsunami-type election in 2014. My belief is, it’s going to be a very big win, especially at the U.S. Senate level, and we may add some seats in congressional races. But I need to and we need to at the RNC make sure that we can capture the positives and the benefits we’ve been able to provide in 2014 and build on that to have success in 2016, which is a very different type of election…I’m just guessing here, but I think among youth and women, we’re gonna see the greatest increase in 2014 because of, number one, Obamacare.”
Essentially, Priebus is tossing aside the GOP’s ‘autopsy’ report after the 2012 election and saying that everything is OK. If the Republican Party keeps on yammering on about how much Obamacare sucks, then that is going to appeal not only to their base, but a whole swath of other voters. Minorities, women and young voters will just magically vote for Republicans this November, despite the party giving them all no real reason to do so. Just run another anti-Obamacare ad and they’ll come. Promise.
The thing is, you really can’t blame Priebus for feeding the media this tripe. It is his job. This is what he’s been handed by his party. They don’t want to go a different direction. The preference is to run on what worked in 2010, which was railing against healthcare reform and energizing the angry base of Republicans who were still seething that a black man was elected President in 2008. However, we are now in 2014, Barack Obama has been reelected and can’t run again and the ACA is now the law of the land and isn’t going away.
Perhaps if you asked Priebus privately, he’d say that he isn’t as confident as he’s letting on and that the strategy of running against the ACA, after that strategy failed the party in 2012, is extremely flawed. However, publicly, he is strutting around and saying they are going to take over the Senate and gain even more seats in the House. That air of confidence seems somewhat misplaced considering the GOP got swept recently in the Virginia state elections, where Democrats took the offices of Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General.
Yes, Republicans won the special election to in Florida’s 13th District last week. However, they held onto a seat that had been Republican for nearly 50 years in a district with an 11-point Republican advantage. And they won by less than 2 points! I wouldn’t beat my chest and gloat about a victory like that. In fact, it is still very possible that seat can flip this November.
Now, there are a number of Senate races this year that are going to be difficult for Democrats to win. Of the 36 Senate races this year, 21 are being defended by Democrats. Many of those Democratic seats are in red or purple states. It is likely that Dems will lose at least a couple of those seats. However, at the same time, Republicans are dealing with tight races of their own. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already had to spend million on his reelection campaign again Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. Despite him vigorously campaigning and holding a seat in a deep Red state, as well as holding a leadership position, he is down in most polls.
Georgia is also proving to be a tough state for Republicans, despite the fact that it is a Deep South state and they are defending a seat. With Saxby Chambliss announcing his retirement last year, a number of far-right candidates have jumped into the GOP primary race. As they’ve gone out of their way to out-crazy each other, Democrat Michelle Nunn has actually jumped into the lead. You would think that before displaying overconfidence, Priebus would try to make sure that Republicans are able to at least hold on to these seats.
Finally, running against the ACA is just going to be a losing strategy in the long run. By the end of this month, at least 6 million people will have signed up for health coverage under the federal and state exchanges. While the approval ratings for the ACA are still mixed, the consensus among voters is that it should not be repealed. By the time we are fully in the home stretch for these midterms, Republicans will find out that making Obamacare their central focus will be a very poor strategy.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).