For vulnerable Democrats, #Obamacare has become a ‘four-letter word’

Hagan repeal Obamacare
Tea Party member Judy Carter pickets Sen. Kay Hagan’s local office in Greensboro against Obamacare. Photo by’s Matt Maggio.

In spite of high profile Dems like former President Bill Clinton urging their party to talk up Obamacare during the 2014 election cycle, The Hill reports this weekend that for many running for election or re-election, the so-called “Affordable Care Act” they once enthusiastically supported is now little more than a “four-letter word”:

To many Democrats, ObamaCare is a four-letter word.

Most Democrats in competitive elections are seeking to avoid the topic, opting not to tout the controversial law on their campaign websites.

In a review of battleground races, The Hill found that out of 50 Democratic candidates with active campaign websites, only 11 mention the healthcare law by name, either as “ObamaCare,” “Affordable Care Act,” or “ACA.” Fourteen more mention the law, but not its name, and half the candidates omit it entirely from their websites.

President Obama has trumpeted that more than 8 million people have enrolled in ACA-related plans. Meanwhile, congressional Democrats have been more cautious, focusing on jobs and the economy.

“On campaign websites, nobody has to say anything they don’t want to say,” said David Karol, associate professor of government at the University of Maryland. “What they have on their website shows what they think will be helpful to them — not what is important to them.”

Republicans, on the other hand, clearly find talking about ObamaCare helpful, as 55 out of the 83 candidates in the same House contests mentioned the law by name on their websites.

The same trends were seen in an analysis of Senate candidates’ websites. Of 37 Republican candidates with active websites, 27 mentioned ObamaCare by name. In the same races, 14 of 20 Democrats don’t mention it at all, including Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska), Kay Hagan(N.C.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Mark Udall (Colo.) and John Walsh (Mont.) as well as challengers Michelle Nunn (Ga.) and Alison Lundergan Grimes (Ky.).

Hate to sound cliche on this but really, this is one you can try to run from but can’t hide from – as Senator Hagan here in NC, key in crafting Obamacare – which she notes on her official Senate website, has quickly learned.  In fact, she doesn’t even like to answer questions on the topic nowadays and has gone out of her way to avoid the President himself when he visits North Carolina.  Coincidence? I think not.

Jobs have been lost, some workers bumped to part time, and millions lost plans they liked after the passage and eventual implementation of Obamacare.  Hagan and other vulnerable Democrats in key states can try to mislead and/or detract from the issue, but I have a funny feeling that the voters won’t let them.  It’s impacted too many people negatively to simply be forgotten.

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