Since September, Americans for Prosperity, a group financed in part by the billionaire Koch brothers, has spent an estimated $20 million on television advertising that calls out House and Senate Democrats by name for their support of the Affordable Care Act.The ads are running all over the place: Iowa, Michigan, Montana, Louisiana, North Carolina, Alaska, Arizona, Minnesota, New Hampshire and West Virginia. They're targeting Democratic senators up this cycle, as well as more freshmen House members. This round is about $1.8 million worth, a sum Democratic campaign committees—and individual candidates—can't even begin to match. And what are they fighting for? Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity says, “[t]here is an easy solution: Repeal the law and it goes away.”
The unusually aggressive early run of television ads, which has been supplemented by other conservative initiatives, has gone largely unanswered, and strategists in both parties agree it is taking a toll on its targets.
Yes, repeal. In other words, taking away the insurance millions of Americans have now secured. That's a prospect that only Ted Cruz is still talking about out loud. But if AFP has anything to say about it—and given the millions they're willing to spend, you bet they will—Republicans will be forced to run on that taking stuff away from people platform. That focus is going to have diminishing returns, as people are paying less and less attention to the issue with each passing day. AFP's strategy thus seems to be do inflict as much damage as possible now, early, while there's still some chance that people care.