During Monday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Chuck Todd, the network’s Chief White House Correspondent, stated that Democrats will lose on the health care issue in this year’s midterm elections. During the segment, a number of specious arguments were made, some with quite a bit of merit, others (like Todd’s) that just seemed to be talking points straight from the RNC. An interesting discussion did result from Todd’s statements, though, where host Joe Scarborough essentially said that Republicans won’t know what to do on the campaign trail if hit hard on their opposition to the ACA.
Below is video of the segment:
The discussion began with a short interview with New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin, who wrote a story regarding the complex political issues that Democrats face in the short-term. Martin’s piece argued that the Democratic Party will have issues running on the law as a major achievement because the people who it most positively impacted are the least likely to come out to vote in midterm elections. In essence, Martin said, in the nicest possible way in his article, that minorities and young people are lazy and don’t care about serious issues.
Martin pretty much made the same argument on Morning Joe. This led to Todd being brought on to discuss the strategy of Democrats this year. He claimed that the White House will likely not discuss the health care law much over the coming months. That especially will hold true when the President travels across the country, where he will instead focus solely on an economic message. Basically, President Obama will only want to talk about the ACA when it hits certain positive milestones.
This is where Todd then advanced the message that regardless of how hard Democrats try to campaign on the positive impact of health care reform and push back against the negativity from Republicans, they will still lose on this issue. Todd did say that he feels that Democrats need to start campaigning on the ACA as a way to change public opinion and flip the narrative. However, his message was very clear–Democrats can’t possibly win on the health care law in November.
Todd’s reasoning is that there is just too little time between now and the elections to change public opinion on the law. Despite the recent torrent of good news surrounding the law, and recent surveys showing that the public’s perception of the law is changing, Todd still feels that it is a given that Democrats cannot win on this issue. Considering that the midterms are more than 6 months away, and we’ve only seen highly positive news come out about the ACA in recent weeks and months, it seems downright silly to say that this is a losing issue for Democrats.
Interestingly, Todd’s statements led to a robust and spirited discussion between hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. Both of them came to the agreement that if Democrats hammered Republicans on the campaign trail with not only the enrollment numbers, but the provisions of the law that are highly popular, that Republicans will be tongue-tied and not know how to respond. Scarborough basically told Democrats to go on a full-scale offensive assault against Republicans surrounding the ACA, as most GOP candidates won’t know how to play defense on the issue.
It is a strange morning when Scarborough comes across as reasonable. Then again, you had one reporter claim that a law that has seen nothing but good news the past few months is going to be an albatross for the party that passed it. You also had another reporter enforce the stereotype that minorities and young people are lazy and disinterested. With that level of opinion on the show, it isn’t too hard to rise above it and appear reasonable.
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).